Sunday, May 1, 2016


Passover officially finished at sunset on Saturday so the matzah was put away and the levain came out of hiding.

First up into the oven were two loaves of Steel-cut Oat Bread. Used the recipe and instructions posted by pjkobulnicky at You can find the recipe using the link above.

I confess to cheating a little bit as I refreshed the starter on Friday night and made the dough on Saturday. But did not bake until after sundown.

Here is the finished result before cutting into the loaf:

Steel-cut Oat Bread

Got a surprise when I cut for the crumb shot. Although the loaves sounded hollow when they came out of the oven, the interior was still wet!

I can only think the steel cut oats I used (Bob's Red Mill) absorbed more water. When I went to drain and reserve the water from steeping the oats, very little water drained out.

When I shaped the loaves, they were easy to handle. The initial hydration was 70%. Did not measure how much of the strained water came out from the oats, but the initial mix was 600g boiling water and 300g oats. So there could have been upwards of another 400g of water bound in the oats when they were added to the dough. Baking was 30 minutes in a closed Dutch Oven followed by 30 minutes with the lid off at 475oF. Sunday morning I dropped them back in the oven at 475oF for 30 minutes. Still a little doughy after that so gave them another 15 minutes.

Here is the crumb shot after the second bake:
Steel Cut Oats - Crumb

Tried a slice after the loaf had cooled. Great crunch to the crust, soft, sweet crumb. Will just have to play around with the bake time in future.

Bake # 2 was Overnight Country Brown from Ken Forkish's Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. Abject failure! Over-proofed and finished up with two pancake loaves that will make great croutons, but not much else. I'm embarrassed to post a picture!

And finally a batch of Ciabatta. Used the formula from Linda West Eckhardt and Dianna Collingsworth's Rustic European Breads for your Bread Machine and the last cup of levain. Mixed by hand and then three stretch and folds during the fermentation. Turned the dough out onto a floured surface, cut in two and roughly shaped to 4x10 inches. 30 minutes more proof, then stretched out to 6x12 inches. Final proof then baked 30 minutes in oven with steam at 475oF.