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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Rolled Oat and Apple Bread

I've been so busy working my way through Daniel Leader's book "Local Breads" that I've scarcely been making any other breads that his.  However last weekend I decided to break from the mould and go a bit crazy - I made a bread fom Dan Lepard's book "The art of handmade bread".  I can't tell you why I decided on this particular loaf, maybe it branched from the success of using grains in my Zitny Chelba pop-top loaves a couple of weekends back, or maybe it was the lovely looking apples I'd just bought, or maybe even the Bircher muesli I'd had for breakfast during the week?  Anywho, make it I did . . . . and yes I kind of think it is a bit like a Bircher muesli bread!

STARTER:
I refreshed my liquid levain for the first time in ages - the last time I hadn't used it in ages it was a bit on the whiffy side and I ended up chucking the loaf as the loaf was also a bit whiffy and didn't rise that well, so I then fed it twice more and it sparked into bubbly life and came good again.  Lesson learnt - fed it more often or make bread from it more often!  This time after feeding it was full of life and not in the slightest bit whiffy :)

50g starter + 100g water + 125g flour - mix together and let ferment for at least 12 hours at RT, or until nice and bubbly.

My scales were still stuffed so I had to do all my measuring using cups again!  Note to self - must try a new battery in my scales, or get a new set!

DOUGH:
1/2c rolled oats (50g)                          1.75c bread flour (250g)
6Tbsp boiling water (100g)                    3/4 tsp salt
1.25c grated apple (200g)                     egg wash  
3Tbsp water extra (50g)                      fine oats for finishing
1c starter (100g)                                (3/4tsp fresh yeast)*

First up I soaked the rolled oats in the boiling water, then grated the apple.  The recipe said to peel the apple, but I think you lose the best bits doing that so left the skin intact.  The apples I am currently eating are called Ambrosia.  They are a delicately, sweet, crisp apple full of summer (even though it is August - it is a bit scary how they keep apples fresh for so long), not unlike a Gala, but perhaps not so sweet.

Mixed the apple, levain, second measure of water and soaked oats, then stirred through so it was well mixed.  Then I added in the flour and salt, and mixed till a rough dough formed.  Covered it with a plastic bag and let sit for about 20mins.  The dough was still super sticky after the autolyse so I added more flour until it felt right (total about 2.5c).  This maybe due to the jucyness of the apples, or the fact I was using cups instead of weights? 

I oiled the bench and kneaded the dough for 10 secs, then covered and rested about 10mins then kneaded again.  Placed the dough ball into and oiled bowl, covered with a plastic bag and let it ferment at RT.  I gave it a stretch and fold after 2.5hrs.  The let ferment another 1.25hrs.

* I didn't add any yeast to the dough.

SHAPING:
On a lightly floured bench top I shaped the dough into a rough round, covered and let rest for about 10mins, then did my final shaping.  I tipped it smooth side down into my round banneton that had been sprinkled with blitzed rolled oats (so they were fine in texture).  The banneton and loaf were popped inside a plastic bag to proof at RT for 1.5hrs.

Dough shaped and ready to proof

BAKING:
 
The oven (and baking stone) was preheated to 210°C.  I turned the loaf out of the banneton onto  my peel covered with a sheet of baking paper, slashed the loaf in a "star" type arrangement, and slid it into the oven followed by a handful of ice-cubes for steam.  Baked the loaf for a total of 50mins with a turn around at half time.

Out of the banneton and onto the baking paper covered peel

Slashed ready to bake

Now that I read the instructions, I see I was supposed to drop the oven temp down to 190°C after 30mins, which I neglected to do!  Never mind, the loaf turned out very well :).

Baked

The loaf had a distinctive apple flavour, but saying that it wasn't overly sweet.  The combination of soaked oats and apple gave it a spectacularly moist crumb, without being heavy or stodgy. 

Moist crumb

It was a wonderfully flavoured bread, that unfortunately made me keep slicing off pieces, smearing them with butter and eating them!  I did give a good half dozen slices to a friend, and I'm sure if I hadn't troughed it down like a starving waif the loaf would have stayed fresh for the better part of a week!

Was ever so nice with or without butter!
 
I'm not sure why you would want to add yeast to this dough if you have a perfectly working levain, and the resultant loaf certainly wouldn't have benefitted from its addition.  The fermentation and proofing steps are just a bit longer is all.

Very delicious bread that I would make again in a flash!

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