Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Oatmeal and Millet Loaf

It has been a long time since I posted on this blog and you all must be starving by now!


I made this bread recently and have to consider it one of the nicest I have ever made so I thought I’d share it with you.  It is a half in half loaf with added ingredients and you could adapt it by simply changing those ingredients eg substitute sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds for either of the additions.


  • 275g Strong White Flour
  • 250g Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 50g Millet grain
  • 30g Pinhead (Coarse) Oatmeal
  • 10g (1.5 tsp) salt
  • 1 dsp Honey (or malt extract)
  • 2 dsp oil, sunflower or olive
  • 300g water
  • 10g fresh yeast (or substitute 5g dried yeast – follow the substitution directions on the pack)


Allow four hours as a minimum for this loaf - there are only a few minutes of actual mixing and handling and 40 minutes or so baking - the rest is all just waiting for the dough to prove so get yourself a good book and have a cup of tea or two or dig the garden...

  1. Weigh the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well
  2. Add the wet ingredients malt extract, yeast, oil and then water (if using dried yeast you can mix it with a little of the water first)
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until combined
  4. Work or knead the dough for five to ten minutes then place back in the oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth or cling-film. 
  5. Leave the dough for an hour or so until it has started to rise[1].  Release the gas from the dough by gently kneading for a minute or two and then return to the bowl for another hour or so[2].
  6. Tip the dough onto your work surface and shape the dough for its final prove.       For a tin loaf the easiest way to shape the dough is to flatten it gently to a oval disc approximately 2 centimetres thick.  Then fold in the side edges to create a rough oblong shape the of roughly the same width as your tin.  Roll this into a swiss roll shape           and pop it, seam side down, into your tin (oiled if it’s not non-stick)
  7. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for it’s final prove. 
  8. Turn your oven on to Gas Mark 8 ( 200°C, 425°F)
  9. When the bread dough has filled the tin and is nicely domed, slash it [3] and put it into the
    oven.  (In the main picture at the top of this post I had also sprinkled the loaf with oats.  Do that now, too, if you fancy it - just a handful of porridge oats.)
  10. Using a water spray mist the oven as you put the loaf in with about twenty squirty sprays of water.[4]
  11. Bake for 10 minutes at this temperature then open the door and give it another spray.  Reduce the temperature
    to Gas Mark 6 (175°C, 380°F) and continue to bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes.
  12. Take the loaf out of the oven and tip it out of its tin.  Try tapping the bottom to see if it sounds hollow but the most reliable method for checking doneness is to take its temperature with a probe thermometer.  Dough cooks at around 93°C so if the internal temperature is 95°C or above it will be done.  If you're not quite sure return the loaf to the oven, but not in its tin, for another 5 minutes.  Allow to cool before cutting. [5]

This bread is great if you enjoy a nice chewy texture in your loaf but find granary a little too much... the oatmeal offers a nice bitey resistance while the millet gives a little crunch.

[1] Bread recipes often say leave the dough until it has “doubled in size” but I find that is often a very hard one to judge when the ball of dough is sat in the bottom of a large bowl.  Basically you need to see some growth in the dough ball which shows that the yeast is active and working.  As it expands the gluten stretches and creates the aerated texture of the bread

[2] Degassing the dough, sometimes called ‘knocking back’, allows the gluten strands within the dough to relax again and creates a closer, more even texture in the finished bread.

[3] Slashing the loaf across the top with a sharp knife allows the dough to expand in a more controlled way in the oven.  See also below...

[4] Spraying the oven is a useful technique to help the dough rise in the oven and then set a good crust.  Professional bakeries often have steam injected into the ovens as the baking starts, this prevents the crust from forming too soon and allows the bread to grow in the heat of the oven.  This growth in the oven is called oven spring.  When the growing has stopped the dough is allowed to dry out.  The moisture has mixed with the flour on the top of the baking bread and gelatinised and this now dries to a shiny glaze.

[5] It's hard to resist the tempting smell of newly baked bread but while the bread is hot the gluten is still very indigestible and you may well suffer if you cut it too early.  Also cutting the bread while it's hot will result in the crumb becoming gummed around the knife ... so just have a bit of self control and go out for a walk until it's cooled down!