This easy honey oat sourdough bread is incredibly soft, with the perfect balance of sweetness from the honey and nutrition from the oats, whole grains and sourdough starter.
The perfect honey oat bread
This sourdough honey oat bread will quickly become a family favorite of yours! With no refined sugars and the use of whole wheat flour and oats, you will love getting to share a delicious bread that is also nutritious! This would be yummy for toast, sandwiches, or even french toast.
The amazing thing about this bread is that it calls for unfed sourdough starter – sometimes referred to as “discard sourdough starter”. Its name “discard” doesn’t match its purpose as it is not something that needs to be thrown out! The extra sourdough starter you have from feedings that’s just sitting in your fridge can be used in so many baked goods. The addition of the sourdough discard adds great texture and health benefits to this bread, and because we are using a small portion of instant yeast to accompany it, it means it’s MUCH FASTER than using 100% fed sourdoughs starter (though you can definitely do that option with this recipe too!) Keep reading below for timing options and modifications.
Why use sourdough?
Sourdough starter is a natural, wild yeast. It’s created by mixing together flour and water, and then feeding it additional flour and water over time until it becomes a fermented substance rich with healthy bacteria and carbon dioxide that helps raise up your baked goods and give it a natural rise – just like using packaged yeast from the store when trying to make bread.
When fed with flour and water, it activates and feeds the bacteria in the fermented base and you’ll see it grow twice the size, have beautiful air bubbles scattered through out, and have a sweet-sour smell. That’s when people use it in their bread recipes – to give it lift. BUT, when NOT fed, its dormant sluggish state is usually just hanging out in people’s fridge – the “discard” as some people refer to it as.
Using both fed and dormant sourdough starter has incredible health benefits – including promoting a lower glucose spike, easier to digest, and feeds good gut bacteria. It also gives deeper flavor and the most incredible moist, tender textures. Because this bread uses a hybrid of instant yeast and sourdough starter, it not only means it’s much faster, but it won’t carry a sour flavor – great for those who love the health benefits and depth of flavor sourdough provides but are tired of the sour flavor profile.
*If you’re new to sourdough…check out my book Classic Sourdough, where I walk you through every step in learning about sourdough, including how to make the classic artisan loaf plus so many extra tried and true recipes.
Why does the recipe call for instant yeast if it has sourdough starter?
With the boost from the standard packaged instant yeast, we’re able to use discard which helps contribute to the taste, slightly slower rise, and health – but way faster. It also allows means this bread does not have a sour flavor profile, unlike the traditional artisan breads. Health benefits and depth of flavor without the sour.
Can I make this bread without sourdough starter?
YES! If you don’t have a sourdough starter, that is okay! You can convert this recipe to use all normal yeast instead of adding sourdough. Instead of the starter, use a total of 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast (instead for the 2 1/2 teaspoons called for).
Can I use active/fed sourdough starter instead of unfed sourdough starter?
YES! You can use active, fed sourdough starter to replace the instant yeast as well. It will just take longer to rise. Use a total of 200 grams fed sourdough starter and expect the first rise to take about 4-8 hours (depends on temperature), and the second rise to take 2-4 hours. After the first rise you can also stick it in the fridge covered to extend the slow rise. (You can choose to form the loaf or not form the loaf before putting in fridge – either is fine). That extended rise will add to the health benefits and bring in more of an underlying sour profile depending on how long you choose to have it rise.
You can also use fed starter with using the half instant yeast approach as well, which will help speed up the rise timing. Instead of it taking an hour or longer for that first rise, you could expect it to rise just under an hour. It doesn’t speed it up significantly, but it will help!
Can I make these into mini loaves instead?
More sourdough recipes you'll love...
If you make this recipe, make sure you tag @loskitchenco on Instagram and leave a comment below! You can also save for later by clicking the ‘Pin Recipe’ button on the recipe card. Happy baking!
Sourdough Honey Oat Bread
- 2 cups (180 grams) rolled oats or quick oats
- 3 cups hot water
- 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 100 grams unfed/discard sourdough starter
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted or softened
- 2 tsp salt decrease to 1 1/2 tsp if using salted butter
- 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
- ~5 cups (approx. 600 grams) bread flour, to touch
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp water
- ~1/3 cup (30 grams) oats rolled or quick oats are fine
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if mixing by hand), add the 2 cups of rolled oats and 3 cups of hottest tap water. Wait for about 5 minutes for the oats to soften and water to cool down slightly.
- When the water is lukewarm (110℉) add the yeast, unfed starter, and honey. Mix together until combined. *If your water is too hot, it can kill your yeast, preventing it from rising. Make sure it is comfortably warm. You can start adding other ingredients like honey and butter before adding the yeast to help cool it down faster.
- Add the butter, salt, and whole wheat flour. Mix again.
- Add the remaining bread flour, slowly. You are looking for a soft, just hardly sticky dough, that has come together and begun to clean the bowl as it mixes. Add more or less all purpose flour until you reach that consistency.*
- Remove the dough hook from mixer and let the dough rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. *You can also stick in the fridge overnight to extend the rise process.
- After it has doubled in size, divide the dough into 2 sections and gently fold into a loaf. See my classic sandwich bread recipe for pictures and a video of my folding method.
- Place in 2 - 9x5" metal loaf pans. Let it rise for about 30 minutes until almost doubled in size and puffy. While rising, preheat oven to 375℉. (350℉ for lower altitude)
- Once risen, whisk together one egg and 1 tbsp water to make an egg wash. Gently brush the tops of the loaves using a pastry brush. Sprinkle on additional oats. *For extra sweetness, you can brush with honey instead of an egg wash.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes until the bottoms reach a rich golden brown color or internal temperature is about 190℉.