Soaked Honey Oatmeal Bread

For a couple years, my husband and I, along with some good friends, led a mid-week prayer service for college students called Ruminate. As a symbol of how God's word feeds us, we baked bread every week to share together after the service. We switched it up once in awhile, but we almost always made this delicious Honey Oatmeal Bread. The original recipe comes from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking, but we adapted it to include more whole grains, and I also figured out this tasty soaked version!

This also happens to be my husband's favorite bread recipe. When I ask him what kind of bread I should bake, he always says "You know my answer: the Ruminate bread." :)

Adapting a yeast bread recipe for soaking is really quite simple. I'm going to share that method with you soon, so you can turn your favorite whole grain yeast bread into a healthier, soaked yeast bread!

(confused about soaking grains? Check out this helpful post.)

This recipe makes two loaves. I don't go through the effort of baking bread unless I can make at least two at a time. I haven't ever made more than two of this recipe, since my Kitchen Aid can't handle much more than that. If you have a Bosch mixer, I'm sure you could double this and make four loaves at a time.

It is not 100% whole grain. It's more like 80%. But it balances the fine line between hearty and light that is sure to please normal people and whole grain lovers alike. It has a slightly craggy, soft texture from the oats and a delicious sweetness from the honey. I recommend slicing it while it's still warm and slathering it with butter. It also makes kick-butt French Toast. Oh my.

Soaked Honey Oatmeal Bread
(makes two loaves)

1) The night before you want to bake, combine in the bowl of your mixer:

2 c. rolled oats
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. white whole wheat flour
2 c. warm water or half water and half milk
1/4 c. whey, yogurt, buttermilk, or kefir

Mix until evenly moistened. Cover with a plate and let soak 7-24 hours.

2) After the mixture has soaked, combine in a small bowl:

4 t. yeast
1/4 c. slightly warm water

Stir gently to dissolve the yeast. (It doesn't need to bubble, just dissolve. If you have instant yeast, skip this step and just add the yeast to the bowl of your mixer. You can either add the 1/4 c. water at that point, or add it to the soaked mixture the night before.)

3) When the yeast is mostly dissolved, add it to the bowl of your mixer, and add the remaining ingredients:

1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 t. salt
1 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 c. ground flax seeds (opt.)

4) Knead in your mixer until all ingredients are fully incorporated and the dough has a soft, stretchy texture. Only add more flour if it is really wet, but be patient, because it usually absorbs the moisture by the end of the kneading time. I do the windowpane test to know if it's done being kneaded: remove a small piece of dough and stretch it gently until you can see light through it. If it breaks before it gets to that point, knead it for a couple more minutes. Grease the bowl and let the dough rise for 1 hour or until it is about doubled in bulk.

5) After the dough has risen, grease two loaf pans (I like to use butter wrappers that have a little butter left on them). Gently deflate the dough and shape it into two log shapes the length of your loaf pans. Place the dough in the pans and cover with a clean, moist towel (I wet a towel with warm water and ring it out thoroughly). Allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it is an inch or two above the rim of the pan. Toward the end of that time, preheat the oven to 350.

6) Place the loaves in the hot oven and bake for 45 minutes, covering with foil after 20 minutes (don't skip this - it will get too dark!). To find out if it's done, stick in an instant read thermometer and make sure it's at least 190 degrees. (No more underdone bread! Yay!) Take it out of the oven and, after a minute or so,  remove it from the pans to a cooling rack. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. The longer you wait the easier it will be to cut, but it is oh-so-yummy while it's still warm!

If you try this recipe, or have a favorite soaked yeast bread recipe, I'd love to hear your feedback!


  1. This looks so yummy!!! I have honestly never tried to convert a yeast bread recipe to a soaking method, so I am glad you did it for me :). I am definitely going to pin this and try it this week!

  2. I am new to the world of soaking and pinned it too. I made a brown bread recipe today (molasses and whole wheat), so I will try this when that batch runs out. I found your blog via Real Food Wednesday. My post is a mushroom-kale mac & cheese: http://www.lonehomeranger.com/2012/01/beekman-cooking-challenge.html

  3. This sounds SO delicious! My husband and I are doing dinner with some friends over the weekend and I'm in charge of bringing the bread. I think I know what I'll be making! :)

  4. I have made my family's bread, for gosh, like 14 years I think? I am a big believer in homemade over whole grains. A little white flour lightens a loaf and is still leaps and bounds better than store bought! But, just to be the Devil's advocate, have you considered switching out the red wheat for all white wheat? It will be very light and if not to your family's liking you can add in like a cup of soft white to keep it from being to dense. But, still, this looks great and reminds me that we have not had oat bread in a while and it might just be time!

  5. Melissa, you must be an expert at bread making after all those years! I have not tried switching out the red wheat for white wheat because I like this loaf just the way it is. :) Also, I thought white whole wheat wasn't the best for yeast bread by itself? But perhaps you can give me a lesson. :)

  6. blessed roots, Justine, and Lori, if you do try it I'd love to hear how it turned out for you! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  7. Looks wonderful. Might there be a way to make this dairy free?

  8. Aiming4Simple: I'm sure you could use coconut oil instead of the butter and soak the grains in a little lemon juice and water. You might want to use some kind of non-dairy milk as part of your liquid as milk adds to the soft texture of the bread.

  9. This bread tastes amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Joanna,

    I finished this bread today. I have been baking my own bread for over a year now, but am new to soaking grains. The process didn't bother me and was actually easier being drawn out to two days.
    However, like my breads in the past this one came out a little "wet" or "sticky" in the middle. Does that make sense? I do all of my kneading by hand, could that be where I'm going wrong?
    The flavor was great, I'm hoping to get this recipe down instead of adding it in the bin of failed breads because I love the flavor.
    Do you use this bread as an everyday bread? My plans are to use this for sandwiches and toast.
    Thanks in advance.
    oh and PS- I cut the end off right out of the oven and slathered it in butter.uh, YUM! Then I had another....woops.

    1. Jerri Ann, so glad you tried it. I think that the sticky middle is due to it not rising enough, which means it takes longer to cook through and turns out underdone. I'd recommend trying to knead it a little more to make sure the gluten is really developed, or do it in a mixer. And also don't be afraid to let it rise a little longer. I'm glad you're enjoying it nonetheless! It really is amazing warm with butter. :)

    2. Thank you! I was thinking about stretching out the rise time, but I wanted it to be done before my husband left for work! Impatience, I tell ya. I will try that next time.

      I am totally old-school and don't actually have a mixer. I do have some sore triceps though. :)

      Also, I wanted to tell you that I stuck my thermometer in the middle (great tip- I had never done that before) and it read over 190.

    3. If the middle said it was over 190, then I think it just needed to rise more. If you try it again let me know what happens!

      BTW we do use this as an every-day bread for toast and sandwiches and the like. We usually do open face sandwiches since it's not quite as sturdy as store-bought bread. We slather on hummus or tuna salad, top with cheese and then melt in the broiler. Yum!

    4. I think you're right, I'll go for a longer rise time next go around. Thank you.

      I did notice that it wasn't as sturdy as store bought. The problem I'm having is when I pack my husband's lunch, but I think I'll just pack all of the sandwich fixings and he can assemble! :) Of all the different loaves I've made though, this is was my favorite (and his..poor guy has eaten some pretty lousy bread this year!).

    5. My husband has certainly eaten his fair share of duds too! :)

  11. JUst made this bread. It was absolutely delicious. I think this is one of the best breads I have ever had and this is coming from someone who has worked in two bread bakeries. Although, this is my third attempt at soaked breads. I used coconut oil instead of butter and used half honey and half molasses and also used half rolled oats and half steel cut (gives it a nice nutty/chewy bite). This will be my new go to bread recipe. Thank you so much.

    1. Yay! I am so glad it turned out for you!! It's our favorite. :)

  12. I loved reading this post (even though its a few months behind). I too soak all my bread dough. My recipe is very similar to yours except I hadn't thought about oats. My recipe is 1 cup whole grain spelt, 1 cup rye, and 4 cups white wheat ground up in wheat grinder. I take 3 cups warm water, 1\3 cup whey, and about 9-10 cups flour. Soak overnight, then add 2 T yeast and 1/4 tsp in 1/4 cup warm water, 1/3 cup honey, 1/3 cup fat, 1 T salt. Enough flour to prevent sticking added if needed. Knead. Shape into 3 loaves, rise. Bake about 35 minutes or until 180 degrees. I have notice the dough is heavier by soaking first. I actually broke my Bosch so I had to cut down on doing 3 loaves. I've been making this recipe for about 2 years and my husband can finally eat bread again. I am going to try your recipe because it looks yummy.

    1. Thanks for sharing your recipe! I just got a vitamix so I'm working on grinding my own grain now. My only problem is that it's so loud and I often have small children napping!

  13. I love this bread. It has been my go to recipe for a few months now. Sometimes it didn't rise much tho and is a little dense. Still delicious though.