Rolled Oat and Apple Bread-a version of Dan Lepard's chewy moist bread

Johnny's picture

This Oat and Apple bread is from Dan Lepard's wonderful book The handmade loaf which has some great bread recipes, fantastic photos and stories from all around Europe . As Dan explains oats have remarkable properties when combined in breads and give the loaf a really interesting chewiness and moistness. That combined with the grated apple makes a really nice breakfast bread that is slightly sweet and stays moist and tender for many days. I found this bread still beautifully moist after 6 days when I finally ate the last slice. I have changed the amounts in Dan's original formula just so I get a decent sized 1kg loaf. Dan also uses  3/4 tsp of fresh yeast in his bread. I must confess I did use a little dried yeast (1/4 tsp) but if you prefer just leave out the yeast and use about 200g of active white starter. This would give you 52% preferment and should be fine to leaven this bread.
So to start on Wednesday night I got out my starter from the fridge and made my first build of the preferment.

Day 1 evening -1st Preferment Build
Total 1st build42g220.00%
 Thursday morning before going to work I added more flour & water to make the 2nd preferment.        
Day 2 morning - 2nd Preferment Build
Starter 1st build42g60.98%
Total 2nd build160g230.98%

Thursday night when I got home I mixed up the dough as per the formula below. I started by putting the rolled oats into a small bowl and boiling up a 100g of the water and pouring it over them. I let the oats soaking for 5 minutes while I got on with preparing the other ingredients. I began by dissolving and mixing the preferment with the rest of the water. I let this sit for a few minutes while I weighed up the flour and grated some nice tart crisp apples. I used pink lady apples because that's what I had on hand.  

I mixed the oats and grated apple into the thick liquids and then combined in all the flour to form a dough. I let the dough sit for 20 minutes before adding salt and kneaded it into the dough by hand. The dough is pretty wet and sticky with the 60% water and wet grated apple, but resist the urge to add more flour. As per my usual method, the dough was then placed in an oiled bowl and covered in a plastic bag to seal it, before being put in the fridge overnight.

Day 2 evening - mixed up doughDough Formula
Pref'mt  2nd Build160g40.00%
Rolled Oats80g


Apple Grated240g60.00%



Day 3 - morning In the morning before going to work I took out the dough and folded it once and returned it to the fridge. Day 3 - Friday Evening. I took out the dough and let it warm to room temperature over the next 4-5 hours as I gently stretch and fold it one every hour. I just folded it once every hour and kept it from drying out by putting it inside the plastic bag in-between folds. The dough should by fairly smooth and blistered by the time it is ready for shaping.

I shaped into a rough loaf and placed it in a cane banneton which I put inside a plastic bag and let rise for an hour or so before putting the whole lot back in the fridge for baking in the morning. Be sure to cover the dough in the fridge so it does not dry out too much. 

Day 4 – Saturday Morning

Baking: I heat my oven to it’s maximum which is 250ºC. I use a baking stone, which I have allowed to heat up for 40 minutes before baking. Just before I put the loaf into the oven I dusted the top with some rough ground rolled oats and slashed the top of the loaf with a razor blade. To provide steam I place my loaf in the oven at maximum temperature and then turn it off and throw a handful of ice-cubes into the bottom of the oven. I turn it off because my oven is fan-forced and the fan would blow all the steam away. I leave it steaming for 10 minutes and then turn the oven back on and set the temperature at 210°C and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer.

Let it cool before cutting and the reward is a delicious moist bread that stays chewy and tender for much longer than anything else I have baked so far. This bread goes great with coffee and lime jam and later in the week I used it for my lunch sandwiches and it was excellent for sangers and just as good for toast.



407 users have voted.


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 September 12

Thanks for 'bumping' up this bread, Johnny. It really is gorgeous.

Yes, I do love Dan's recipes; made his chelsea buns (tweaked) this week. Yum.

rossnroller 2009 September 13
Yum - looks beeyootiful, Johnny.

Looking even more forward to receiving Dan Lepard's book now. Anyone know how long it usually takes to get a book from the bookdepository from the time of ordering?
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 September 14

Ross, I track my parcels like an eagle. It takes around 2 days for the status to change from processing to dispatched; I get my books as fast as 5 days from ordering to 9 days. Try not to order on Saturday...not a workday.


rossnroller 2009 September 14
Actually, I'm pleased to report that I received the Dan Lepard book today. Fast!  Ordered the book on 6/9, so took 8 days to arrive! On a quick thumbing through, looks excellent.
Hilaryk 2012 March 2



I have been kneading it for ages (more than 1/2 hour in a mixer) and it is still not a ball of dough!  I have resisted adding flour but I can't see how I will be able to shape this.


Any suggestions?  words of encouragement?  anything?

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 2

Hello HilaryK

Where are/were you up to?  Give us a bit more of a descritpion of what you actually did.

One possibility is that you have gone past developing the gluten to strength and it has broken down.  If this happens the dough goes back to being soft and sticky.  This is almost impossible to do with hand kneading but is eminently possible with a machine depending on the power input.

It might be a bit late to help with this loaf, but with some more info, perhaps we can get you onto track.


Hilaryk 2012 March 2

Hello Farinam

I had got to Day 2 evening and had mixed up the dough.  I have used the Bertinet method for hand kneading in the past but this looked far too sloppy even for that so I started it in the machine.  It is only a domestic Kenwood and I mixed it with the dough hook - not too hard but for quite a long time.  It appeared to ball, but when I stopped mixing it went back to soft and sticky.  Still the same this morning. 



farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 2

Hello HilaryK,

Based on the recipe, other than the effect of the moisture in the apple (not sure how you allow for that), the calculated hydration is relatively low.  I wonder whether it would have helped if you pressed some of the juice from the grated apple before mixing it in.

The other thing is that the method described just mixed the dough with an autolyse and mix in the salt followed by retardation and stretch and fold at relatively long intervals rather than vigourous kneading from the get go.

If it looks like the dough is 'rising' maybe it would be best to cut your losses this time and tin the dough to prove and bake.  The other alternative would be to press on with the retardation and S&F to see if the dough does improve, though, as I said before it might already be over-worked.

Sorry, I can't be more help.  Hope something works out for you on this one and better luck next time you try it.


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