An oval loaf with plenty of flavour, a chewy but light crumb and crunchy crust. This nutritious bread toasts well and is good for sandwiches.
If using fresh yeast, crumble the yeast into a large mixing bowl, stir in the water then mix in the oatmeal. Cover the bowl and leave for 2 to 3 hours until bubbly.
If using easyblend dried yeast, mix the yeast with the oatmeal in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the water then cover and leave for 2 hours until bubbly.
Mix 350g of flour with the salt and gradually mix into the oatmeal mixture. When all the flour has been incorporated, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for thoroughly for 10 minutes. The mixture will feel much more elastic and quite firm – work in a little extra flour if the dough feels sticky and doesn’t hold its shape. The dough can also be kneaded in a large mixer fitted with a dough hook; use low speed and knead for no more than 5 minutes.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover tightly or slip the bowl in a large plastic bag, and leave in a warm spot for 20 minutes.
Punch down the dough to deflate then gently shape into a neat oval. Set on a lightly greased baking tray then snip the top with kitchen scissors to make a row of cuts. Slip the tray into a large plastic bag and leave in a warm spot until doubled in size – about 1 hour. Meanwhile heat the oven to 220?C, 425?F, Gas Mark 7.
Uncover the loaf and bake in the heated oven for about 35 minutes until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
Cool on a wire rack. Best eaten within 4 days or toasted.