Irish Porridge Bread

Created 01 Nov 2012 20:32, Updated 06 Nov 2012 15:46

Irish Porridge Bread

From King Arther Flour Whole Grain Baking

Yield: One 8.5x4.5-inch loaf
Baking Temp: 350 degrees F
Baking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

(Note: I have only made this bread a couple times, and as I recall it was good both times. However, I have never purchased bread flour in my life; regular unbleached A/P flour worked just fine.)

1 3/4 cups water
2/3 c Irish (steel-cut) oats
1/4 c packed light or dark brown sugar
4 T unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 c rolled oats
1/4 c wheat germ
2 T vital wheat gluten*
2 c unbleached bread flour
1/4 c nonfat dry milk
2 tsp instant yeast**

To prepare the oats: The night before you plan to make the bread, stir together the water and the Irish oats, cover, and refrigerate.

Next day, transfer the oats and water to a small saucepan and simmer until the oats are tender but still "toothsome," all the water is absorbed, and the mixture is thick, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Add the brown sugar, butter, and salt, stirring until the butter melts. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl or the bucket of your bread machine and allow it to rest at room temperature, covered, for 1 hour. This will allow time for the oats to totally absorb their cooking liquid and soften.

To prepare the dough: Combine the remaining ingredients with the oat mixture, and mix and knead them by hand, mixer, or bread machine until you have a soft, smooth dough. Cover and allow the dough to rise until it's puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4-inch loaf pan. Gently deflate the dough and shape into an 8-inch log. Place it in the prepared pan. Cover it gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise until it's crowned about 1 1/2 inches above the rim of the pan, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Near the end of the bread's rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To bake the bread: Uncover and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with foil after 15 minutes. The bread is done when it's golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190 degrees F. Remove it from the oven, and after a minute or so, turn it out onto a rack. Brush with melted butter, if desired, to keep the crust soft. Cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

*The intro to this recipe in the cookbook says the bread can be made without vital wheat gluten, but it will be more crumbly. I had some gluten on hand, so I used it, and it turned out really well.

**I used regular yeast and it worked fine, just rose more slowly.

If you've already got some prepared Irish oatmeal on hand, substitute 1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal for the 1 3/4 cups water and 2/3 cup Irish oats. If the oatmeal has been seasoned with salt, reduce the salt in the recipe to account for the salt in the oats. If it's been sitting for more than an hour already, there's no need to let it rest for an hour before combining with the remaining ingredients.

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