Harvest bread: Struan

  • Food
  • Friday, 06 Jun 2014

According to master baker Peter Reinhart, struan means "the convergence or confluence of streams" in Gaelic – which is a perfect description for this "harvest bread" because it contains whatever grains are available from the harvest from the day before.

Reinhart has recipes for a more complex way to make this bread, and an easier one from his book Artisan Breads Every Day. In it, he says that struan is his favourite bread and it was also the most popular one at his now defunct bakery. The recipe is flexible, and although I have made it to the letter many times, I have also adapted it to use the ingredients I have at hand. My version here makes one loaf, which is perfect for a small family. This bread makes great toast and sandwiches.




300g bread flour

25g cooked brown rice

15g rolled oats

20g cornmeal

10g semolina flour

10g wheat germ

25g brown sugar

8g salt

160g water

55g milk

12g agave nectar or honey

50g sourdough starter (optional)

8g instant yeast

Poppy seeds (or other seeds)


Combine the flour, rice, rolled oats, cornmeal, semolina, wheat germ, brown sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a jug, combine the water, milk, agave nectar and starter, if using.

Stir the instant yeast into the dry mixture, and add the wet mixture. Stir together with a wooden spoon to incorporate everything together. If the mixture is dry, add water, a few drops at a time. The dough should be coarse and sticky, and should come together. Cover the bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.

Kneading: Stretch the dough gently, folding the sides into the middle all around the edges, for 10 seconds and form into a ball. Cover and leave for another 10 minutes. Repeat the stretching and folding two more times at 10-minute intervals. After the final knead, form the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with cling film. Refrigerate the dough for eight to 10 hours.

Remove the dough 1½ hours before baking. Shape the dough and place into a greased loaf tin (11.5cm by 20cm). Cover and leave to rise.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Once the dough has risen 2cm above the edge of the tin, brush the top with water and sprinkle liberally with poppy seeds. Slash the top down the middle.

Place in the oven. After 20 minutes, turn the tin around. If the top is browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminium foil on top. When done, the loaf should be a rich golden colour, with an internal temperature of at least 85°C in the centre.

Remove the loaf from the tin and place it on its side on a wire rack. Cool for at least an hour before slicing.

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Harvest bread: Struan


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