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Oat and Linseed Sourdough

I’m on a mission to lower my “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. I already eat really well, and I can’t bring myself to consider the “proven to lower cholesterol” margarines so there’s not a lot to play with.  Oats, lots of oats, and oat bran, linseeds, and macadamia oil are just about the limit of the adjustments I can make.

So this is my new favourite bread.  It has lots of oats.  And some linseeds. And it is easy enough for me to make even on weekday workdays. And it tastes really really good, as toast and as sandwiches.

The Recipe:

It takes 24 hours, but only about 15 minutes work over all that time.  Oh, and you need a sourdough starter.

Before I go to bed:

  • Take the sourdough starter out of the fridge.
  • Mix 1 ¼ cups of unbleached bakers flour, 1 ¼ cups of water, and 1 ¼ cups of starter.  (I use my tank water, which has no chlorine or additives in it).
  • Put half of it back in the jar in the fridge.  You should be left with 1½ cups of fed starter, to put in a bowl covered with a clean cloth on the kitchen bench for the night. By morning it should be frothy, like the picture.

Next morning:

Mix in:

  • ¼ cup crushed linseeds
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup oat bran
  • teaspoon treacle
  • teaspoon salt

Let that lot soak in while you cook ½ cup steel cut oats in 2 cups of water.  Be careful – it will tend to overflow if it is on too high.  Just simmer for around 5 minutes until you have a thick porridge.  Cool a bit, then add to the mix.

Stir in a cup of unbleached bakers flour to make a thick dough. Tip another half a cup of flour on your benchtop and have another half a cup ready.  Tip the mix out onto it, and with floured hands knead in the flour.  Add as much more flour as you need to prevent the dough sticking.  It should only take a few minutes, you should use most of the flour, and you should end up with a ball of soft, springy, not too sticky bread dough.

Put a good dollop of macadamia (or olive) oil in a large bowl, swirl the dough ball around in it to coat, cover the bowl with a clean cloth, and leave out on the benchtop for the day to prove.

When I get home at 5.30

The dough will be two to three times the size it was when I left.  I tip it out onto the benchtop (it’s already oily so no need to flour) and knead very briefly – a minute or so – then put it in a oiled baking tin. Slash the top with a sharp knife, cover with the clean cloth again and leave again.

At 7.30

The bread will have doubled in size again.  I put the loaf in the middle of a cold oven, turn the oven on to medium hot, and bake.  It takes about 40 minutes in my oven.  I know when it is done when the crust is nicely browned and it sounds hollow.
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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • kim October 12, 2011, 3:46 pm

    That bread looks divine! My kids love my homebaked bread but are a bit choosy when it comes to ‘sandwich bread’ . That loaf looks so moist and ‘sandwichy!’
    One question….what are steel cut oats??

  • Linda October 12, 2011, 4:04 pm

    Hi Kim, Steel cut oats are just whole oats just chopped a bit. They look like this. They are available in supermarkets and health food shops. I have substituted more rolled oats, or wheat when I’ve run out, but steel cut oats give it a nice texture.

  • Annora October 20, 2011, 11:01 am

    Hi Linda

    I was delighted to discover you blogging, you’re the same one who wrote the Permaculture Home Garden? I love it!

    I was sad to hear that you’ve got some cholesterol issues. Here are my notes for lowering cholesterol based on Adele Davis who wrote some books in the 1970’s based on real medical science, plus some animal studies. I did these for my mother-in-law.

    Cholesterol – Adelle Davis

    Take 1-2 tablespoons of lecithin per day. Larger amounts have been taken over longer periods and you should feel free to do so also if you would like. It takes the fat off the walls of the arteries (in animals and presumably in humans also).

    Completely exclude hydrogenated fat, including types of peanut butter etc that includes hydrogenated fats.

    Must include vegetable oil. The best is:
    A 3 way mix of:
    peanut
    safflower
    soy oil

    B complex tablets supplying 1,000 milligrams of both cholin and inositol each.
    Magnesium – 500mg given to heart patients daily.
    Vitamin E
    Vitamin C
    Vitamin A
    Iodine (use iodised salt)

    cut down on sugar and alcohol
    include pectin (jam setting agent)
    eat adequate protein
    do not cut out saturated fat entirely. Eat some saturated fat in very small amounts. Eggs are a good source of this, including mayonnaise.

    eat more liver, yeast and wheat germ.

  • Linda October 20, 2011, 11:14 am

    Hi Annora, these are good guidelines in any case, except that I am skeptical about vitamin tablets – much prefer vitamin rich foods, for lots of reasons and among them cost, balance, and incentive not to forget! ! Luckily the kind of food I like is real food, and I have a good ratio of good (HDL) to bad (LDL) cholesterol, and that is apparently what counts. But I have a family history of heart disease – obviously I have genes for making cholesterol out of very little! There’s not much room to improve anything in my diet – I already eat lots of vegetables, skim milk dairy foods, kangaroo, fish, nuts, whole grains, eggs. I’m eating more oats and macadamia oil. Lecithin sounds like a good idea too – not hard to add some to my bread. Glad you like the blog.

  • Fiona October 20, 2011, 7:06 pm

    Hi Linda

    Love the blog and am always checking in to see what you are up too. Great podcast with Gavin the other day or when ever you recorded it. I am writting to ask fo some guidance as I have just posted about my failings as a sourdough baker as was wondering if you had any suggestions. You can read about it here Oh Rose I hope you can help. I have just done a post about my failings as a sourdough baker. http://lifeatarbordalefarm.blogspot.com/2011/10/sourdough-failure-help-required.html
    Any assistance would be warmly recieved as this is a skill I really would like to master.

  • Fiona October 20, 2011, 7:09 pm

    Whoops the old copy and paste didn’t work so well.

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