This sourdough includes a pre-cooked oatmeal porridge, which makes it ultra moist and pillowy-soft within; it also makes it stay fresh far longer than many homemade breads.
The recipe takes several days to make, but only requires about an hour of actual hands-on time.
Because the initial proof of the dough takes from 12 to 14 hours to complete, it is best to start the recipe either in the evening, or very early in the morning.
To avoid overproofing, it is important to shape the loaf within an hour or so after the dough is ripe (i.e., when the it is “domed, lightly bubbly, and about tripled in volume”), especially when ambient temps are high. (In the winter, you’ll have way more wiggle room.)
If possible, use a transparent container for proofing the dough, it will make knowing when it is ready to be shaped obvious (you will see a fine web of bubbles on the interior of the dough), like this:
You can use mature levain/sourdough starter that has been refreshed as described in step 1 within the previous 10 days; since the recipe uses such a small amount, the exact hydration of the levain is not important here.
If possible, proof the dough somewhere where ambient temperatures are around 75˚F.
If that’s not possible and temperatures are very cold (below 68˚F), increase the amount of levain to 10%, or 40 grams.
If ambient temperatures are higher than 80˚F (as in the summer), reduce the amount of levain to 1%, or 5 grams (about 2 teaspoons). And don’t let the dough go too long after it’s fully ripened.
The loaf is baked cold, directly from the fridge.
Any bread flour will work here, but my go-to “bread” flour is King Arthur all-purpose flour, with 11.9% protein.
12/12: I inverted the water/oatmeal amounts, which has been corrected: it should be 65g oats and 130g water.
1/28: Corrected the 1% and 10% levain amounts, which should be 5g and 44g, respectively.
Oatmeal-Maple Porridge Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Makes 1 900g loaf
100% bread flour
8% maple syrup
14.5% rolled oats
5% levain/2.5% pre-fermented flour
Levain Build (if needed)
11g bread flour
6g 100% hydration starter
130g boiling water
65g rolled oats
422g bread flour
220g water, 75˚F
22g levain (from above, or from cold-storage)
195g oatmeal porridge (from above)
35g maple syrup
For the levain: Mix flour, water, and starter in bowl and stir until uniform. Proof at room temperature until doubled in volume, 3 to 6 hours. Use immediately or refrigerate until needed for up to 10 days.
For the oatmeal porridge: Place oats and boiling water in medium bowl and stir until uniform. Cover bowl with plate and let sit for 20 minutes.
For the loaf: Place about 15 grams (1 tablespoon) water in small bowl and set aside. Add maple syrup, remaining water, and levain to oatmeal mixture, and stir with wooden spoon or dough whisk until combined. Add flour and stir with wooden spoon or dough whisk until uniform and no dry flour remains. Add salt and reserved water to top of dough. Cover bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.
Using hands, knead, mash and squeeze dough in bowl until water and salt are fully incorporated and dough is uniform in texture, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Cover bowl well and let sit for 30 minutes.
Using lightly wet hands, fold dough in bowl until tight and uniform, 6 to 8 folds.
Desired dough temperature: 75˚F.
Cover and let ferment ferment at room temperature (68 to 75˚F) until dough is domed, lightly bubbly, and about tripled in volume, 12 to 14 hours.
Dust top of dough lightly with flour, loosen from bottom of bowl, and invert onto floured countertop. Using flour on hands and top of dough as necessary to prevent sticking, gently press dough into 8-inch circle, then fold edges toward middle to form round.
Cover with inverted bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.
Flour top of dough and surrounding countertop. Using bench scraper, loosen dough from counter. Shape as desired.
Transfer to floured banneton or lined basket. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours (loaf will not rise appreciably during this time).
One hour before baking bread, adjust oven rack to middle position, set covered heavy-bottomed Dutch oven on rack, and heat oven to 475 degrees.
Lay 12- by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on counter. Remove loaf from fridge, dust bottom of loaf with flour, and invert onto center of parchment paper.
Score loaf as desired. Pick up loaf by lifting parchment edges and lower into Dutch oven. Carefully cover pot and transfer to oven. Bake until fully sprung, about 20 minutes.
Carefully remove pot from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425. Remove loaf, transfer to bare oven rack, and continue to bake until deep golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes longer. Transfer loaf to cooling rack and allow to cool for at least two hours before serving.