Thursday 8 October 2020

Low-knead bread

Before the COVID-19 lockdown of early 2020 it had been a while since I had made bread. As I was suddenly home it seemed like a good time to get back to regularly making bread. Panic buying had depleted the local supermarkets' stock of flour, and while I managed to find some strong white flour and some wholemeal flour, it seemed impossible to find rye flour. This was a shame, as the bread recipe I used most required some rye flour. Somewhere on social media I read a suggestion to try making bread with some cooked oats, and this got me thinking if I could replace the rye flour with cooked oats.

A little bit of trial and error got me to this recipe. There are many steps, but not that much kneading. 


  • 310 ml water
  • 50 gr rolled oats
  • 15 gr unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar (black treacle or honey)
  • 1 tsp yeast 
  • 275 gr strong white flour
  • 75 gr strong wholemeal flour


  • Oven
  • Loaf tin
  • Mixing bowl
  • Big spatula
  • Kettle
  • Measuring cup
  • Tsp and tbsp measures


  1. Boil the kettle.
  2. Pour 310 ml of boiling water into a large mixing bowl (I use the one from our Kenwood mixer)
  3. Add the oats, butter, salt and sugar.
  4. Leave for about twenty minutes until it has cooled enough (yeast apparently works hardest around 35℃ and dies somewhere around 60℃, so I just stick my finger in it to check that it is about body temperature).
  5. Once cool enough, sprinkle the yeast on top.
  6. Leave again for a few minutes until some foam has appeared, that's the yeast having been reactivated.
  7. Add the flours.
  8. Mix - I use the dough hook on our mixer and give it some wellie for only a few minutes - but am under the impression that just mixing well should be enough at this stage.
  9. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This should probably be "in a warm place," but I've just left it on the kitchen work surface so far.
  10. Uncover. Take a plastic spatula and lift the dough from one side and fold it over. Turn the bowl a quarter and do the same again. Repeat until you've turned the bowl around a few times.
  11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 three or four times (reuse the tea towel!)
  12. Grease and line your loaf tin. You'll want to stick the baking paper down quite well, as it will help with the next step.
  13. "Tip" the dough into the loaf tin. In reality this will mean scraping it out with the spatula.
  14. Stretch the dough a little so it sort of fills the loaf tin. It will rise to fill it, but if you push or pull it a little towards both ends the end result will be a more even loaf.
  15. Cover the loaf tin with a dome of kitchen foil, making sure that the kitchen foil does not touch the dough, and that the dough has room to rise. I make the dome small enough that the loaf tin plus dome will fit in the top oven of our double oven.
  16. Put the dough in a warm spot to rise. For this I use our top oven, which I will switch on for about a minute to 30℃. Don't want the oven to be warmer, as I don't want to kill the yeast at this point. 
  17. Wait for about half an hour. You might want to check on your dough to make sure it still has room under the kitchen foil dome. If it's not got room left, just take the foil off (but save it).
  18. Preheat your main oven to 230℃.
  19. When the oven is hot enough and you think your dough is ready to be baked (my estimate of this is "somewhere before it all spills over the edge of the loaf tin") move the loaf tin into the oven. Take the kitchen foil off if you haven't yet. Save the foil.
  20. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 200℃.
  21. Bake for another 25 minutes. It's probably wise to check the last 5 or 10 minutes to see if the bread needs protection from burning. If it does, stick the foil dome on top.
  22. Take bread out of the oven and tip it out on a wire rack.
  23. Tap the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it's probably done. If it does not sound hollow, stick it back in the oven for another 10 minutes (no need for the tin).
The timings might be a little off, not only because not all ovens are the same, but also because I actually use a tin that is 1.5 the size and have adjusted the ingredients accordingly, but am not entirely sure about adjusting the baking timings.

Now that I have found rye flour in the shops again I skip the oats steps, and add 50 gr rye flour along with the other flours.