Fall Baking (Part I): Scottish Oatmeal Bread

In an attempt to properly align myself with the seasons (even though it still feels like summer here) I sought out a hearty bread to bake from my still favorite bread cookbook, Kneadlessly Simple. It’s incredibly easy to make and tastes good enough to be considered dessert. It’s great with a dab of butter, jam or served as French toast.

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus 3/4 cup, plus more as needed
  • scant 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant, fast-rising yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan and oaf top
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, plus 4 tablespoons for garnish
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 6 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup dried currants, rinsed under hot water, then thoroughly drained and patted dry (optional, I didn’t use any)
First Rise: In a large bowl, thoroughly stir together 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt, yeast, allspice, and nutmeg. Vigorously stir the ice water and orange zest into the flour mixture, scraping down the sides just until the ingredients are thoroughly blended. If too dry to mix, a bit at a time, stir in just enough more ice water to blend the ingredients, but don’t over-moisten, as the dough should be fairly stiff. Stir in more flour to stiffen it if necessary. Brush the top with softened butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. If desired, for best flavor or for convenience, you can refrigerate the dough for 3 to 10 hours. Then let rise at cool room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.
Second Rise: In a medium bowl, gradually stir the oats into the boiling water until well blended. Let stand for 5 minutes to partially cook. Stir in the butter and sugar until the sugar dissolves and let cool thoroughly. Vigorously stir the cooled oatmeal mixture into the dough until thoroughly incorporated. Add in 3/4 cup of the flour and the currants until evenly distributed throughout, then as needed, enough more flour to yield a very stiff dough, scraping down the bowl thoroughly. Using an oiled rubber spatula and working all the way around the bowl, fold the dough in towards the center.
Generously butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Add 2 tablespoons of oats to the pan: tip it back and forth to evenly distribute them. Invert the dough into the pan. Smooth out the top and press the dough evenly into the pan. Brush the loaf with melted butter. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons oats over the top pressing down to embed them. Using an oiled serrated knife of kitchen shears, cut a 6-inch long, 1/2-inch-deep slash down the loaf center. Cover the pan with nonstick spray-coated plastic wrap.
Let rise using either of these methods: For a 1 3/4- to 2 1/2-hour regular rise, let stand at warm room temperature; for a 1- to 2-hour accelerated rise, let stand in a turned-off microwave along with 1 cup boiling-hot water. Continue the rise until the dough nears the plastic. Remove it and continue until the dough extends just to the pan rim (it will rise a lot in the oven).
Baking Preliminaries: 20 minutes before baking time, put a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees F.
Baking: Bake on the lower rack for 65 to 75 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out with moist crumbs on the tip (or until the center registers 204 to 206 degrees on an instant-read thermometer). (As necessary to prevent over-browning, cover the top with foil.) Then bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer to ensure the center is baked through. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the loaf to the rack; cool throughly.

24 thoughts on “Fall Baking (Part I): Scottish Oatmeal Bread

  1. Thanks for posting this. I will make this today based on your recommendation. I will need to pick up an orange, though. I’m glad to see that this is still your favorite bread cookbook. The weather here was very fallish this week. I have all kinds of Oregon jam (and a Jordan jam) in my “”store” so I need to open up my bake shop and make a vehicle with which to eat all of my jam. Have you made the Portugese cornbread yet or the bread made with ale? I also want to try the white bread recipe and then turn half the batch into cinnamon rolls. I know that you won’t ever make the cinnamon rolls because they are too fattening. lighten up and live a little. Goodness knows that you can afford it!

      1. Okay, did everything as directed and this is my first kneadlessly simple recipe that somewhat failed me. I think that the problem lies with the oatmeal. I had the choice to use Trader Joe’s old fashioned quick cooking oats or Bob’s Red Mill old fashioned that take 10 minutes to cook. Went with Bob and cooked the bread 75 minutes. Also baked it in a Le Cruset loaf pan which could have an effect. My love never got to 210 degrees and was getting too brown. It tastes good but it’s super moist inside like a date bread. I think it’s the oatmeal. I’ll give it to dad. He’ll eat it:)

          1. My love has never been above 200 degrees either.
            I spent about 20 more minutes trying to get it to 204 degrees, but gave up and it still turned out fine (it got to 200 and then I gave up). It’s a dense bread, like fig bread. The pain d’epice turned out equally great. I’ll post pictures later on.

            1. Was your bread moist border line wet and a grayish/ purplish shade. I need to get mom and dad’s opinion. Sure, rub in what great bread you made.

                1. Take that back!!!! I never said that I wasn’t a bread baker! Who makes the most awesome Rick Rodgers Thanksgiving roll? And BTW I am getting much, much better at candy making! Who made perfect marshmallows first? Yes, I did!!

                    1. They were super cute but give me a break. You are the queen of finding cute clip art and cutifying stuff. Jay buys sticker paper at Staples and makes labels all of the time. You could make your own so easily for a fraction of the price. Ask mom to send you the label paper. Their labels were ridiculously high, but still I bookmarked the site for inspiration.

                      What’s with the new configuration? I like how my last comment on your previous layout looked like a Post Modern poem.

                    2. Yeah, yeah, I know, but I’d like to order a set and then cutify them. I need tangible inspiration. You don’t like the new configuration? Is it “hilariously depressing?”

                    3. It’s not that i don’t like it, it’s just that I’m a creature of habit and it takes me a while to transition to change.

  2. It looks fantastic and if my girl down the street makes it I will be sure to get a crack at it for sure. I am sure Raj just had a small piece without butter because he is so careful about what he eats.. Do you think we will find this bread in Portugal? Keep cooking and keep blogging..

  3. This recipe doesn’t seem all that simple. Looks delicious, however. I agree with your dad, it’s great to have your sister living a few houses away. It does feel like fall here. Nicole made a fabulous hearty chicken with pumpkin stew a few days ago. You may want to get that recipe.

    1. The recipe she is referring to has been renamed Peanut Butter stew. The recipe called for 1/4 cup of peanut butter which already concerned me but I was multitasking for the pasta party for 70 so i accidentally put in 1/2 cup of peanut butter. You know our dad. He still proclaimed it the best stew that he ever had. Jay’s first words were “Is there peanut butter in here?’ You betcha!

    2. If you’re talking about Nicole’s pb-stew, no thanks. She said she put way too much PB in it and it didn’t taste right. The recipe is simple but the directions just seem difficult.

  4. That looks heavenly. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Hope all is well over there. Miss seeing your more frequent posts!

    1. Thanks, Kim. I love seeing your pictures on FB. It looks like you and your daughter went to a pumpkin patch. That’s one of the things I most miss about fall…the pumpkins, the weather, the chill in the air.

      1. Yes, I took the kids to Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland. We go every year. Jenna went as an infant and when she was about 3, and she didn’t remember much so it was like the first time for all those adventures at the farm for her! She wants to go back already. Mason’s almost too “old” for it now, so I’m glad I spent the whole day there with them :o)

  5. That looks delicious! We’re having the most incredible Fall weather here right now. We finally tried Rustico and they have some Fall-inspired dishes on the menu that look amazing. I’ve missed your posts!

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