Apple and Oat Loaf

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    2

    loaves

Appears in

Bourke Street Bakery

By Paul Allam and David McGuinness

Published 2009

  • About

A solid healthy option for breakfast with cottage cheese or ricotta, the apple and oat loaf is also good for a cheese plate as it has quite a subdued flavour and lets the cheese take all the tastebud glory. The oats gives this loaf a porridge-like texture, which becomes quite crumbly when toasted. This loaf generally takes a little longer to prove and a little longer to bake than other loaves, as the internal crumb of the loaf is held down by the oats. If you wish, you can play around with the ratio of oats to dough in this loaf and change its texture. Reducing the quantity of oats will mean it will not be as dense and can be cooked for a little less time.

Ingredients

  • 70 g ( oz) organic rolled (porridge) oats
  • 40 ml ( fl oz) water
  • 715 g (1 lb 9 oz) sourdough dough
  • 185 g ( oz) apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2–3 cm (¾–1¼ inch) pieces

Method

Put the rolled oats in a bowl and pour over the water. Leave to soak for 5 minutes, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until needed.

To make the apple and oat loaf, follow the instructions for mixing sourdough until you can create a window. Lightly mix in the combined apple and soaked oats. You can do this by hand by lightly folding the ingredients through the dough until just combined, or simply add it to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix for 2–3 minutes on slow speed — you will need to give it a helping hand by stopping the mixer a few times to push the dough around the bowl. Lightly grease a container with oil spray and sit the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at ambient room temperature (approximately 20°C/68°F) for 1 hour to bulk prove.

To knock back the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and press out into a rectangle, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick. Use your hands to fold one-third back onto itself, then repeat with the remaining third. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold it over again into thirds. Place the dough back into the oiled container and continue to bulk prove for a further 1 hour.

Use a blunt knife or divider to divide the dough into two even-sized portions, about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) each. Working with one portion of dough at a time, continue to shape the loaves following the instructions for shaping a round loaf.

Line two small baskets with a tea towel (dish towel) in each, lightly dust both with flour and place a loaf inside each, seam side up. If you are using a traditional cane basket, you don’t need the tea towel and can simply dust the basket with flour. Alternatively, you can place the loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper, seam side down. Place in the refrigerator loosely covered with a plastic bag for 8–12 hours.

Preheat the oven to its highest temperature. Remove the covered loaves from the refrigerator and let them rest in a humid place (25°C/77°F) — this could take anywhere between 1 and 4 hours — until each loaf has grown in size by two-thirds. If the loaves push back steadily and quickly when you push lightly into them with a finger then they are ready. Score the loaves and place them in the oven.

Spray the oven with water and reduce the temperature to 220°C (425°F/ Gas 7). Bake the loaves for 25 minutes, then turn the loaves or trays around, and bake for a further 10 minutes, watching carefully to make sure that the loaves do not burn. Check the base of each loaf with a tap of your finger — the mysterious hollow sound is harder to achieve with this loaf as the oats change the loaf’s density — you can hear it but it will be a bit duller than usual. Baking should take no longer than 40 minutes in total.