Monday, July 18, 2011

Scottish Oat Bread

Tossing the caberWe went to the Portland Highland Games yesterday. For those you not of Scotts extraction, highland games are a sort of Scottish cultural gathering held all over the
world. They started when the Scotts were subjugated by the English (think Braveheart) and forbidden to carry implements of war. They took to lobbing heavy weights and other feats of strength in lieu of feats of military prowess. The modern Highland Games tend to revolve around the competitions and music, with a lot of kilts and a dash of Renaissance fair thrown in for spice.

When it comes to food, think sausage rolls, fish & chips, pasties and shortbread. It’s the fair food version of Scottish fare, but even so (please forgive me, particularly if you’re packing a claymore and dirk) there is a reason there aren’t Scottish restaurants on every corner. That said, do visit the Highland Stillhouse  in Oregon City if you’re in the area. The food is good and their selection of beers and Scotch is excellent.

Imagine my surprise when, Betsy asked me to make my Scottish Oat Bread this morning. This is a recipe I created over the course of several years. It isn’t technically Scottish, but it has the right vibe and features Scottish style oatmeal from Bob’s Red Mill here in Portland. When I say recipe, I use the term loosely as I tend to make it from memory and approximate a lot of the measurements. It is slightly sweet, the oatmeal adds tooth and it goes great with soup. If you have any left over, it makes great croutons.

Scottish Oat Bread

scottish oat bread


3 cups unbleached bread flour (can substitute 1 cup whole wheat bread flour)

½ cup Scottish oats (Bob’s Red Mill)

2 Tbs. Vital Wheat Gluten (Bob’s Red Mill)

1 Tbs. quick rise bread yeast

2 Tbs. powdered milk

3 Tbs. brown sugar

2 Tbs. table sugar

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. molasses

2 tsp. salt

1 ½ cups warm water


Dissolve table sugar in water and stir in yeast. Allow to proof for 5-10 minutes allowing yeast to become active.

Place flour in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add oats, gluten, salt, brown sugar, and powdered milk. Stir to mix and add molasses. Add olive oil to water and yeast mixture.

With the mixer running with a dough hook, begin slowly pouring the liquid in. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix for about 5 minutes on slow/medium speed (4 on my Kitchenaid.) Slowly adjust mixture with warm water and flour as needed. The dough should clean the bowl but be sticky to the touch. Place the dough into a large ceramic bowl and place it to rise in a warm, still place.

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, split it into 2 loaves and place it into a bread pan or form to rise again. I like to use a double baguette pan, but have made it in traditional bread pan, or made a rustic loaf on a baking sheet.

Once they have risen back to loaf size, bake in a 350 degree oven until done. Be aware that with the sugar and molasses in the dough, the crust has a tendency to over-brown. I like the baguette pan because it is easier to get the bread cooked through without overcooking the crust.

oat bread and home made strawberry jam
Scottish Oat Bread and Fresh Strawberry Jam


  1. Gosh, you're making me all homesick when see them toss the caber! This oat bread looks so light and delicious and nothing to beat the best of Scottish strawberry jam!

  2. The oat breads I've had before have always been really dense loaves, so I'm really excited to see how light and fluffy the bread looks in your photos - this recipe is going on my list of things to make, as soon as I can get my hands on some Scottish oats (and once this heat wave passes, because I can't bear to turn on the oven right now).

  3. Hi Jill & Isabelle,
    Thanks for stopping by. The vital wheat gluten helps keep it light. Seems like gluten free is all the rage, but it really helps build good structure in potentially dense bread.