Porridge (also known as Oatmeal) loaves are really nice to have around the house. Because of the higher water content from the oatmeal they typically last longer before going stale. We have occasionally had Porridge loaves up to a week on the counter and they are still pretty good at that point. After you cut it be sure to cap it off by putting it with the cut side down on the cutting board or counter (We do this with all our Sourdough, no bags needed!). I go back and forth between standard "Large Flake" Oats and a pre-mixed oatmeal blend sold here in Canada by Rogers. The blend is nice because it has flaked oats, rye, barley, spelt, quinoa and khorasan, as well as some oat bran, millet and flaxseed. Either way the oatmeal gets incorporated the same way and at the same time. I also like to coat the top of the loaf with oats right before placing in my Banneton. This adds a little extra to the texture and definitely gives it a pretty bold appearance.
Ingredients (One Loaf)
120g (30%) Anita's Organic White Flour
120g (30%) Robin Hood All-Purpose
80g (20%) Nunweilers Wholegrain Red Fife
80g (20%) One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt
288g (72%) Water
8g (2%) Salt
80g (20%) Levain
160g (40%) Rogers Porridge Oats & Ancient Grains mix.. Cooked on the stovetop, 1 cup of water with 1/2 cup oats.
8:00am- Levain Build with 15g starter: 45g warm water: 45g Flour blend (75% White, 25% Dark Rye)
12:30pm- Autolyse with 280g of the water
1:30pm- Mix in 80g of Levain
2:00pm- Mix in Salt, 8g of water and the cooked Oats
2:30pm- Coil Fold
3:00pm- Coil Fold
3:30pm- Coil Fold
4:00pm- Coil Fold
5:00pm- Coil Fold
6:00pm- Coil Fold
7:15pm- Shape, cover with oats, put into Banneton. Into fridge overnight
8:00am- Preheat Oven and Staub Dutch oven to 550F for 1 hour
9:00am- Score the dough and bake at 450F for 25 minutes with the lid on, then 25 minutes with the lid off.
I have had a lot of great luck in the past with these Porridge loaves. I say that because while putting this website together I had multiple failures (albeit delicious failures) and that made me appreciate how lucky I have been up until this point. I'd made dozens of these loaves and all of them had turned out great. I used to make these at about 80% hydration and generally 30-50% whole wheat flours. That hydration just wasn't working for me any longer so I dropped it down to 72% and even at that I probably could have gone lower. It all comes down to how much water is in your Porridge. Your dough may feel very stiff at first but as the Bulk Fermentation continues on it will pull water out of the oats and be much more slack. Play around with different amounts of water, but I recommend starting low and see how it feels.
Bake these loaves as long as you can. The extra hydration can lead to a bit of a sticky texture. If that is the case, don't worry, the next day it will have dried out a bit and shouldn't be too bad. Next time try to bake a bit longer or drop the hydration level a bit. I generally do not cut into these until the day after baking.
Your fermentation times may vary depending on a lot of different factors. Use these times for the folding and the duration of the Bulk Fermentation only as a guideline. What worked for me may need to be tweaked a little bit for your bake.