Millet-Oat Porridge Bread

Porridge Sourdough Bread

A mild, grain-flavored, moist-crumb sourdough, this bread features a "custardy" crumb - in the parlance of artisan bakers - and a crisp, chewy crust. It's leavened by a millet starter and is pale, slightly honeyed, and loves additions, such as the golden raisins you see in the photos.

Yield: One, 20-ounce round boule.

Time to make: 45 minutes active. 3 - 5 hours proof (depending on temperature); 90 to 110 minutes oven dwell.

Equipment needed: Small saucepan with lid. Optional: Spice grinder or grain mill. Measuring cups and spoons or kitchen scale, Large bowl. Whisk. Sturdy spoon. Spatula. Vegetable steamer (see notes). Dutch oven or large oven-safe saucepan with lid. Cooling rack.


1/4 cup (30 grams) millet grain
1/2 teaspoon honey
Scant 1/3 cup (38 grams) tapioca starch
Packed 1/3 cup (50 grams) potato starch
1/2 cup (62 grams) brown rice flour (preferably home-ground - see notes)
1/3 cup (30 grams) rolled oats
Scant 1 Tablespoon (11 grams) steel-cut oats
Scant 1 Tablespoon (11 grams) buckwheat flour (preferably home ground - see notes)
1 1/2 teaspoon (10 grams) salt
2 teaspoons (9 grams) xanthan gum
2 1/3 ounces (72 grams) millet sourdough starter (see Procedure for link)
300 Ml (grams) water at 80 F.
Butter for greasing a fold-up vegetable steamer (see notes)
Additional buckwheat or other flour to dust steamer


Using a spice grinder or grain mill to grind your own flour dramatically improves flavor. You can also create flour that is a mix of different textures, which improves the bread mouthfeel.

A vegetable steamer is a circular, perforated, fold-up contraption with small "legs" that allow it to sit about one inch off the bottom of a large saucepan. Its center post can be easily unscrewed and removed, allowing dough to be directly placed on the perforated surface, which supports the dough and transmits heat and moisture efficiently. Substitution: an oversized piece of bakers parchment.


1) Place the millet and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Stir in the honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow to cook 10 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed and the millet is partially cooked but soft enough to not injure teeth. Remove from heat but keep covered. Set aside to absorb water.

2) In a large bowl, add the tapioca starch, the potato starch, the brown rice flour, the rolled oats, the steel-cut oats, the buckwheat flour, the salt and the xanthan gum. Whisk until all ingredients are well blended.

3) In a medium bowl, mix the sourdough starter, the cooled millet and 250 ml (grams) of the water. Whisk to thoroughly mix.

4) Add the water mixture to the flour mixture. With a sturdy spoon, stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Let dough rest 2 - 5 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and dust the vegetable steamer. Vigorously re-stir dough. If it seems stiffer than mayonnaise, add the remaining water and stir. Dough should be wet enough to just barely hold a three-dimensional shape.

5) Turn dough out onto the prepared steamer. Using a wet silicone spatula, shape the dough into a round boule, Smooth and slicken the surface. Cover dough/steamer with the inverted large bowl, taking care to seal completely. Allow dough to rise, about 2 hours at 90 F, 3 hours at 80 F, 4 - 5 hours at 72 F. Dough will increase in size but not double. It will soften slightly and develop some surface irregularities.

6) Place a large covered metal saucepan or Dutch oven into the oven. Heat to 425 F. Tie bakers twine at intervals around the edge of the steamer, then tie the loose ends together to allow lifting. Carefully and quickly, with well-insulated mitts, open oven, remove lid from pan/Dutch oven, lower bread on steamer into place, re-cover pan, and close oven.

7) Bake with pan/Dutch oven covered for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and pan from oven. Continue baking for 1 1/2 hours, or until bread is nut-brown and hollow-sounding when tapped. Remove from oven, place onto a cooling rack, and allow to cool overnight.