Bakers Journal

Organic Oatmeal and Whole Wheat Bread

September 23, 2008
By Tracey Muzzolini

A hearty and oat-filled organic loaf straight from Saskatoon.

I started making this bread in our store about nine years ago. Since then, it has evolved as a bread as much as I have evolved as a baker. Throughout the week we feature different breads on different days, which keeps people coming into the store for their daily favourites. We make this bread twice a week, using organic flour and oats. It’s a definite customer favourite. People love the fact that it is organic, healthy, and delicious.

Oats are a hearty cereal grain known to grow in poor soil conditions and thrive where other crops are unable. The oat is an ancestor of the wild red oat, which originated in Asia. Oats were, and still are, used for medicinal purposes. It was the Scottish settlers who brought oats to North America in the early 17th century. Now oats are widely grown in North America, Russia, Germany, Poland, and Finland.

Oats are a whole grain cereal which give the body strength and energy. After being harvested and cleaned, oats are then roasted, giving them their unique flavour. The bran and germ are retained during the hulling process, which leaves a concentrated source of fibre and nutrients, in particular a friendly fibre called beta-glucan helps to lower bad cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. Oats contain antioxidants, which aid in the prevention of heart disease, cancer and asthma symptoms. In addition to antioxidants and dietary fibres, oats are also a good source of vitamin B1, sodium, magnesium, manganese, protein and phosphorous.


Oatmeal bread allows us to have all of this nutrition in a tasty slice of bread, topped with whatever our palate imagines. This bread is designed to highlight all of the ingredients in the formula. Each ingredient has a purpose. The white flour brings strength to carry us through fermentation, shaping and proofing, so we can have an appealing aspect to the loaf. The whole wheat flour is nutritious as well as flavourful. A preferment brings the many advantages of fermentation to bread, including gas, alcohol and acid production. The preferment of choice for this bread is a whole wheat sponge. By prefermenting all of the whole wheat flour in a sponge for 12 hours, we develop a sweet, nutty, wheaty profile. By fermenting a high portion of the whole wheat flour, we have used up a lot of the available sugar to the final dough. This will reduce fermentation activity and coupled with the white flour, will give the bread more tolerance to final fermentaion and proofing. While the oats bring nutrition, they also add a sweetness and slight roasted flavour to the bread. The honey offers a sweet balance to the bitterness of the oats and wholewheat flour. It also brings a beautiful carmelization to the crust. The oil brings richness and softness to the crumb and crust.

This bread is hearty, sweet and nutty. The consistency is quite dense, so you feel fulfilled after only one slice. My favourite pairings are with avocado and tomato. One of my staff members makes herself an amazing sandwich that is about to become an item for sale, made with pesto mayo, spinach, shredded carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and the secret ingredient: banana peppers. These items make a tasty sandwich for any bread, but are superb with the oatmeal and whole wheat bread. Toasted, I love this bread with almond butter. Out of all of the breads we make at out bakery, this is one of my absolute favourites. It is a complete comfort bread and is always satisfying. A slice with almond butter in the morning will be satisfying enough to carry you through the first part of your day.

Preferment Ingredients  %  kg
 Organic wheat flour  100  1.364
 Water  65  0.887
 Salt  2  0.027
 Dry yeast  0.6  0.008
 Oat Soaker Ingredients
 %  kg
 Water  100
 Rolled oats  100  .091
 Final Dough Ingredients  %  kg
Organic wheat flour   73.3  .001
 Organic whole wheat flour  26.7  1.091
 Water  59.7
 Rolled oats (topping)
 Honey  12  .491
 Oil  9.3  .382
 Salt  2
 Dry yeast  1.00  .041
 Prefermented dough  55.9  .286
Oat soaker  53.3  .183





Preferment: Mix by hand or in a mixer until dough comes together, being careful not to overmix. Ferment 12 hours at 70 F.

Oat Soaker: Soak oats in water, cover and leave overnight.

Mixing: Improved mix. In a spiral mixer, mix five minutes on first speed and five minutes on second speed. Add oat soaker at the end of the mix and mix an additional five minutes. Desired dough temperature: 75-77 F.
Bulk fermentation: 1 hour

Divide: 500gram pieces and preshape into rounds. Rest 20 minutes.

Shape: Shape into boules or into pan breads. Top pan breads with oats.

Final proof: 1 hour.

Bake: Bake at 230 C with steam for 45 minutes. Vent oven steam during the last 10 minutes. v

Tracey Muzzolini is co-owner of Christie’s Mayfair Bakery in Saskatoon, Sask., with her brother Blair. She can be reached at or 306-244-0506.

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