James Beard’s Oatmeal Bread (with many seeds)

James Beard's Oatmeal Bread

James Beard's Oatmeal Bread

“Make sure you add lots of seeds in it.”

Today is my dad’s birthday! Now, if I were very courageous, I would go ahead and bake a bread with his favourite food of all time… but because I’m not a daring baker (or even if I were) I’m not sure how good a loaf of fried calamari bread would taste. Fried calamari with a hunk of toasty garlicky bread on the side, sure, but I don’t even know if anyone even attempted putting fried calamari into bread before. (Come on, I challenge you to prove otherwise!) So I am going to incorporate his other favourite foods instead – oatmeal, and seeds. Seeds of all kinds, and lots of them.

Oatmeal Bread with Many Seeds

Slightly adapted from James Beard’s Oatmeal Bread in Beard on Bread

Makes two loaves


– 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
– 1 cup boiling water
– 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
– 1 tsp granulated sugar
– 1/2 cup water, lukewarm
– 1 cup milk, lukewarm
– 1 tbsp salt
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 4-5 cups bread flour (all-purpose flour is okay too but you’ll have to adjust the amount of liquid accordingly)

– 1 tbsp poppy seeds
– 1 tbsp flax seeds
– 1 tbsp sesame seeds
– 1 1/2 tbsp sunflower seeds


Cook the oats in the boiling water until thickened, about three minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool until it’s lukewarm. In the meantime, proof the yeast by adding it to the warm water with a teaspoon of sugar, and stir until dissolved. It should become bubbly and foamy in 8-10 minutes. Add the warm milk, salt, brown sugar, two teaspoons of each of the seeds (poppy, flax, sesame and sunflower seeds) and yeast mixture to the oats and stir well. Gradually add in the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough starts leaving the sides of the bowl and becomes too stiff to stir with a wooden spoon (this will take about four cups of flour or so).

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured board. Knead into a smooth and elastic dough for around 6-8 minutes, adding only as much flour as necessary to get a slightly tacky dough. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until roughly doubled in bulk – this will take anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Gently degas the dough (pat it down to gently deflate the bubbles), divide into two portions and shape each into a loaf. Place the shaped loaves into two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans (I shaped mine into free-form boules), cover, and let them rise in a warm place until they’ve crested about 1″ above the rim of the pans or until they are around doubled in bulk.

Right before baking, lightly brush the loaves with water and top with the remaining seeds, and if you like, use a sharp knife to slash an X on the top of the loaves.

Bake in the middle rack of a preheated 375F oven for about 40-45 minutes, until the loaves are a golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the loaves and let them cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before serving.

Oh, and yes, this many seed oatmeal bread is best enjoyed just the way my dad would love it: toasted, with a thick slathering of butter on top.

* * *

Mom and Dad by the waterfront

Mom and Dad by the waterfront

I’m sending this loaf to my dad (happy birthday!), of course, and to Susan at Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.


Tags: , , , , ,

12 Responses to “James Beard’s Oatmeal Bread (with many seeds)”

  1. Tigger Says:

    oh . what a lovely daughter whom we are proud of .. looking forward to see you 9 days later. thanks for all. Dad

  2. toxobread Says:

    Happy birthday, Dad! Looking forward to your visit soon too 😀

  3. macie Says:

    What a thoughtful gift! I love “seedy” bread, too.

  4. Susan/Wild Yeast Says:

    Happy birthday Mr. Jackie’s Father! Quite a talented daughter you have there.

  5. YeastSpotting March 20, 2009 | Wild Yeast Says:

    […] Oatmeal Bread […]

  6. Nancy (n.o.e.) Says:

    Ooh, beautiful bread. I just love oatmeal bread; making a note of this one! What a great birthday gift.

  7. toxobread Says:

    Thanks, Susan!

    Nancy, I have a soft spot for oatmeal bread too. The texture is great – I’m going to do some experimenting with my latest love, steel-cut oats, in bread soon and am excited to see how that will turn out. 🙂

  8. Jude Says:

    Yikes. Calamari bread? Maybe deep fried?
    Such a nice thing to do for your dad 🙂

    • toxobread Says:

      Jude, I don’t even know if *deep fried calamari* would taste good in bread (…well, everything tastes good with bread but in an actual loaf, I’m not sure).

  9. Mrs Ergül Says:

    This is a beautiful loaf Jackie! Hmmmh, I’m thinking the deep fried calamari will turn soggy with all the steam! 😉

  10. toxobread Says:

    Ha ha I’m not even sure that deep fried calamari would taste good in bread, Mrs. Ergül 😉 But with maybe some good pasta and crusty bread on the side?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: