This is a variation on Liz Ashworth’s crusty pinhead oatmeal loaf. This recipe is made with plain flour rather than strong bread flour. The loaf is crusty and full of flavour. The texture is less springy but rather moreish.
Makes 2 loaves.
The night before you want the bread, sift the plain flour into a deep bowl, add the oatmeal, sugar, salt and yeast and mix together. Stir in the oil, melted butter or lard along with the water to make a soft smooth dough. Cover the bowl with cling film or a large plate and place on the bottom shelf of the fridge to ferment overnight.
In the morning, remove the bowl and leave to come up to room temperature for half an hour.
Turn onto a floured board and knead gently into a long thick sausage shape. Divide into two equal pieces. Take the flat blade of a sharp knife and cut along each shape to make three equal lengths of dough, keeping the dough attached at one end. Starting at the attached end of the loaf pleat the dough ‘fingers.’ Damp the ends and tuck under to seal when you have completed the pleat.
Leave in a warm place to prove until doubled in size – this usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Heat the oven to 230C, 210 fan, 450F, Gas 8. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden on top, then reduce the heat to 220C, 210 fan, 425F, Gas 7 and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until the loaves sounds hollow when knocked on the base with the knuckles.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy freshly baked.