It may look like a conventional loaf of bread, save perhaps for the fact that it has a crisp topping of melted cheese spiked with pepper on top. But it’s anything but conventional as it is not made entirely with wheat flour. A third of its composition actually consists of oat flour.
Yes, oat flour.
I’ve long been intrigued by the oat-flecked buns used at Brothers Burger and the oat-topped multigrain loaves sold at La Coeur de France, but the oats in these breads only seem to appear on the surface; on the crust and not in the crumb. So, seeing how we had practically a ton of rolled oats at home, I decided to blitz some of it into flour and add it to my standard-issue recipe for foccacia.
The texture of the resulting loaf is considerably heavier, denser, and chewier than my regular foccacia and the flavor is certainly more savory.
Herbed Oat-and-Cheese Foccacia
- 300 grams all-purpose flour
- 200 grams rolled oats
- 1 sachet (7 grams) fast-acting yeast
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 300mL water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon unsalted cashews, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra-virgin)
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- scant 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a food processor or blender, pulse the rolled oats until ground fine. Combine with the flour, salt, yeast, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture; set aside.
Put the water and cooking oil in a heat-proof bowl and microwave on HIGH for a minute and 30 seconds. Pour the resulting mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until well-combined. Knead the dough for about twelve minutes; note that this dough will be quite dense and sticky. Cover with a clean dishtowel and place in a warm, draft-free area; leave to rise for an hour.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down in the middle and knead in the chopped cashews. Grease a standard-sized loaf pan and press the dough evenly into it. Leave to rise an additional ten minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 450 degrees / Gas Mark 7.
Combine the cheddar cheese, pepper, and olive oil to make a sticky paste. Dimple the surface of the loaf with your fingers and evenly spread over the cheese paste. Leave to rise another twenty minutes.
Bake the bread for ten minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 degrees / Gas Mark 5 and bake for 25 minutes more.
Makes 1 loaf.