Healthy honey oat bread, made with whole grain spelt flour and rolled oats. This simple loaf can be made year round, and easily made vegan with maple syrup. Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post! Skip to the recipe →
I grew up making honey oat bread. My favourite recipe from my mom’s bread bible was an apple wheat bread, but I always altered it to be made with full whole wheat flour instead of using part white flour. At first it didn’t work very well, but as I got more experience the measurements got better.
This is a honey oat spelt bread, made with 100% whole grain spelt flour. No white flour needed. It is a bit heavier, a bit denser, than a standard spelt loaf – that is, spelt with all-purpose or bread flour mixed in – especially with the weighty rolled oats. I have found that recipes like this can be a bit tricky to find, especially reliable ones.
If you’re new to baking bread, this is a pretty simple recipe, and one that I’d recommend to beginners. It’s not as easy as a spelt no knead bread, but it is made with yeast instead of sourdough starter (here’s a honey oat sourdough if you want to make that instead).
I have less experience with sourdough than with yeast so it might not necessarily be easier, but it’s definitely easier to buy yeast at the store than make your own starter. Kneading is needed in this case.
The process is simple. Sprinkle yeast over warm water with a bit of honey, let it sit for 15 minutes, and inspect. If your yeast isn’t foaming up, then it’s dead. There are two culprits: one, the water was too hot (it should be just warm to touch) or two, the yeast is either too old or got too warm and is no longer viable. Either way, get new yeast.
Then the remaining water is mixed in, with some of the flour, honey, oats, and salt. The rest of the flour gets stirred in until it’s too hard to stir, then you start kneading. Just about 8-10 minutes, if that, because spelt is a little sensitive. It should need about an hour for the first rise but it can take a little longer depending on how warm the spot is.
After the first rise, the dough is shaped, rolled in more oats, and then left for the second rise. I used Bob’s Red Mill organic rolled oats and really like how thick and toothy they are. A lot of other oats tend to be a little dusty and lighter, and the heftier oat is nice here.
Another half hour or so later you’re ready to bake, another 40 minutes, and cool for an hour before slicing. It seems like a long process, but most of it is hands off, either rising or baking time, so you don’t need to be in the kitchen during that time. I find baking bread to be a meditative process and really enjoy doing it on a free day. There’s nothing more satisfying to bake and eat than fresh bread, especially a nice healthy honey oat loaf.
It’s a good sandwich bread, or toasted with a bit of jam, makes great croutons if it’s gone a bit stale, and so on. I haven’t yet had time to test this particular recipe as an overnight rise (another couple of weeks before it’s back to normal around here) but I’ll update the recipe when I do. And if you’re looking for an overnight version, this one is your best bet.
Again, to make this vegan-friendly just sub in maple syrup for the honey with no change to the recipe. It doesn’t come through quite as strongly as honey does, but it’s a good switch. And if you want to make this gluten-free, since I always get the questions, I have no idea how to do that. Make this gluten free sourdough from Traci instead.
Sprouted spelt flour can be used without any changes to the recipe. Although you’ll probably be tempted to cut into the bread as soon as it’s out of the oven, that hour waiting time is to keep it from getting gummy when it’s sliced. If you cut too soon, you get that unpleasant texture and lint-like dough rolling off the slices.
Like always, if you have any questions about a recipe please reach out to me either through the comments or by email. This is one of my go-to bread recipes, one I’ve been making for well over a decade, and I want you to love it too!
(Bread head, all my daydreams come to life.)
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- 60 ml / 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast, or 1/2 cube fresh
- 250 ml / 1 cup water, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 100 grams / 1 cup Bob's Red Mill organic regular rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 350 - 400 grams / 3 - 3 1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour
- In a large bowl, stir together the 60 ml / 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon honey. Sprinkle the yeast overtop and set aside for 15 minutes, until the yeast is foaming.
- Stir the remaining water, honey, oats, salt, and about 100 grams / 1 cup of the flour into the bowl. Add the remaining flour 50 grams / 1/2 cup at a time, until it becomes too difficult to mix.
- Tip the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead, adding flour as required, for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable.
- Drizzle a little olive oil into the large bowl and place the kneaded dough back into it. Roll the dough around to coat it in the oil, then cover with a plate or tea towel and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Grease or line a standard bread tin. Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press into a rough rectangle, about 3cm / 1 inch thick and the length of your bread tin.
- Roll the dough up lengthwise. Scatter a good layer of oats onto your surface, then roll the dough in the oats to coat the outside. Place it into the greased bread tin. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Once the dough has risen, bake on the centre rack for 35-40 minutes, or until a dark golden brown on the top. It should sound hollow when tapped.
- Tip the bread out of the tin and cool on a rack for an hour before slicing and serving. This bread keeps well if wrapped or in an airtight container at room temperature for three days.