Recipe for Struan Bread?

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Assistant Cook
Nov 15, 2004
I'd love a recipe for a good Struan, but I don't use a bread machine, and that seems to be the only recipe I can find online. Does anyone have a good one to share?
Of course! It is a lovely hardy bread, perhaps of Scottish origin. Years ago, my brother made a fabulous version but he lost the recipe. It is made with oats, cornmeal, wheat bran, rice, etc. Very nice! From what I remember, it is a meal in itself.
mudbug said:
We need Audeo the master breadmaker in here. I'll betcha she's got a recipe from her great-grandmother tucked away somewhere.

Weeell, as a matter of fact, I believe that I can successfully pick up that gauntlet there, mudbug...and thankee for your faith!

I'll start digging through the cookbooks, dawnsey, and have something for you by tomorrow. As I recall, I learned the term "preferment" in this recipe, something we in the states call a "starter". The bread, which I have made before (but not in a while) takes four days...the first to mix the sponge and leave overnight; the second to make a "poolish" and leave overnight; the third to mix the dough and rise, then shape and rise overnight; and the fourth to bake in the morning. And it's worth every bit of pre-planning required -- the loave is "multi-grain" to say the least and so very hearty! I can see someone taking a few slices at the beginning of the day and returning home still full! By the way, my memory may be totally skewed, so keep an open mind until I find the recipe and method, hum?

It's not hard, just time-consuming. I'll do my best for you, dawnsie, and wonder if Ishbel will also have a response...???
I found this one, which doesn't use a bread machine:

A Recipe for Struan (from

Makes 1 loaf
2 1/2 cups high-gluten bread flour (unbleached, if possible, available at most natural food stores and also in supermarkets, where it is labeled bread flour)
3 tablespoons uncooked polenta (coarse cornmeal)
3 tablespoons rolled oats (or instant oats)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons wheat bran
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast (or 1 1/4 tablespoons active dry yeast dissolved in 4 tablespoons warm water)
3 tablespoons cooked brown rice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup buttermilk (low-fat or whole milk can be substituted)
Approximately 3/4 cup water (room temperature)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (for the top)


Mix all the ingredients, including the salt and yeast, in a large bowl, stirring to distribute. Add the cooked rice, honey and buttermilk, and mix. Then add 1/2 cup of water, reserving the rest for adjustments during kneading. With your hands squeeze the ingredients together until they make a ball, adding more water as needed, until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the dough ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and turn the ball out of the bowl and begin kneading. Add additional water or flour as needed.

Kneading by Hand

It will take about 10 to 15 minutes to knead by hand. The dough will change before your eyes, lightening in color, becoming gradually more elastic and evenly grained. The finished dough should be tacky but not sticky, lightly golden, stretchy and elastic rather than porridge-like. When you push the heels of your hands into the dough, it should give way but not tear. If it flakes or crumbles, add a little more water; if it is sticky, sprinkle in more flour.


Clean out and dry the mixing bowl. Wipe the inside of the bowl with a little oil, or mist with vegetable oil pan spray. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap or place the bowl in a plastic bag. Allow the dough to ferment in a warm place for about 90 minutes, or until it has roughly doubled in size (it may take a shorter or longer time, depending on the temperature).

Forming the Loaf

This recipe makes 1 regular-size loaf of bread (about 1 1/2 pounds finished weight). Because the dough is relaxed and supple, and already scaled for one loaf, it can be shaped without first rounding and resting.

Shape the dough into a loaf by pressing it out from the center with the heels of the hands, gently flattening it into a rough rectangle and punching it down, degassing it. Then roll the dough up into a cigar shape, and a seam forms. Tuck the end flaps into the seam, and pinch the seam closed with either your fingers or the edge of your hand, sealing it as best you can. Place the loaf, seam side down, in a greased 9” by 4 1/2” bread pan. Spray the top with water and sprinkle on the poppy seeds. Cover and allow the dough to proof until it crests over the top of the pan, approximately 90 minutes.

Baking and Cooling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (300 degrees if convection). Bake the loaf for approximately 45 to 55 minutes. The loaf should dome nicely and be dark gold. The sides and bottom should be a uniform light golden brown and there should be an audible thwack (or thunk) when you tap the bottom of the loaf. If the loaf is dark on the top but too light or soft on the sides and bottom, return the loaf, not in the pan, to the oven, and finish baking it for a few minutes more, until it is thwackable. Bear in mind that the bread will cook much faster once it is removed from the pan, so keep a close eye on it.

Allow the bread to cool on a rack thoroughly, at least 40 minutes, before slicing it.

Eating or Storing

The best way to store bread is to wait until it is completely cooled in the center. This takes about 2 hours. When it is cool, double-wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and either freeze or leave it in a cool place out of the sun. Do not refrigerate it, as this dries it out faster. If freezing, it is a good idea to preslice the loaf before wrapping so you can pull out only the number of slices needed.

This bread makes the best toast you will ever have and is wonderful with a little melted butter and some jam or jelly. It is also the best bread I have ever had for tuna or chicken salad sandwiches and also for BLTs. There is something almost magical about how the flavor of mayonnaise marries with the light sweetness of this loaf.


:) Barbara
By the by, I’d like to correct the tongue-in-cheek pun by mudbug that I’m a master breadmaker! God knows I have WAY TOO MANY disasters to dispel that myth! I must have missed that through the cabernet fog of the evening…

I have a couple of Struan recipes for you, dawnsie. One is an adaptation of Struan Brean based upon my grandmother’s notes. I remember it taking a lot of time and experimentation to make sense of her original recipe with a “cuaich” of this and a “cog” of that (which has been the case for most of her recipes!). Mind you that most of her “recipes” are more a collection of notes of additions, adjustments and absolute “no-nos” that she learned in business, but there’s a wealth of information written that a bit of time always yields brilliance on her part.

The second recipe I’ll tag on I have not made, but will! GM notes that Struan Bread is a “lost bannock”, an ancient Michaelmas harvest festival tribute that celebrates the “fruits of the harvest” of oats, barley and rye grown in Struan in the heart of the Inner Hebrides. There are many a Robertson in my ancestry and my GM further notes visiting kin in Dunvegan often, which is just across Loch Brecadale (?) from Struan and, ironically, the home of one of my favorite scotches, Talisker.

First, the one I’ve adapted:

Struan Micheil Bannock

1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup rye flour
1 cup room temperature water

Combine well in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic and punch holes in the top with a fork to allow the sponge to breathe. Set aside to culture overnight.

The next morning, cook 1/3 cup of brown rice slowly in 1 cup of water. Allow to cool down until it is about 115-120 degrees (F).

In a large bowl, combine well the following:
The Sponge
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup barley flour
1/2 cup uncooked polenta (or stone-ground cornmeal)
1/2 cup oats
The cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons of instant yeast
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cup of warm water (115 degrees (F))

Combine this well and beat smooth with a wooden spoon. Then add bread flour in one cup increments (you will use another 3 cups of flour) until you have a tacky, but not sticky dough. Turn out onto a board and, as my grandmother aptly added, “and knead forever!” Since this dough is so full of whole grains, it takes probably 20-30 minutes of active kneading to bring it to the right texture. I usually, depending on weather, will end up adding another cup of bread flour in this process.

Place in a large, lightly-oiled bowl and allow to rise for about 2 hours until it is doubled.

Punch dough down and knead for a couple of moments. Then divide into thirds. Traditionally, the dough is shaped into rounds, with the center slightly depressed, and allowed to rise on a cornmeal-scattered baking sheet. It may also be formed into three loaves and placed into 9-inch loaf pans. Which ever method you choose, allow the dough to rise again for a couple of hours in a warm environment.

If making rounds, take a sharp knife and make four parallel cuts quickly into the top of the dough. (GM was very specific about the four parallel cuts for authenticity, and said a “checquer-board pattern is unwelcome” on this bread…) Otherwise, the dough will “break” into its own cuts during baking. The same may be done with loaves. Then coat the top with a beaten egg.

Bake in a 350-degree preheated oven…for rounds, you will bake 30-45 minutes and for loaves, you will bake 45 minutes to an hour. Thump the browned loaves for the requisite “hollow” sound. The bread, however, is done when the center reads 185-190 degrees (F).

Allow to cool for at least an hour on a wire rack before slicing.

This second recipe is probably actually more authentic, since it includes a cream-eggs-butter coating that GM insists be on this bread to be proper. I have yet to adapt this one to methods I use, so I’ll offer her original with my interpretation…which means, you may need to adjust this one somewhat via trial and error…! I do hope my conversions on the fly are accurate….

Struan Bannock

16 ounces of boiling water
7 ounces of oats
12 grams of dried yeast (1 Tbsp.)
1 pound of wholemeal flour
4 ounces rye flour
4 ounces barley malt flour
6 shakes of salt (apx. 1 teaspoon)

Pour the boiling water (less about a quarter cup) over the oats and allow to stand for an hour. Reheat the remaining water to warm and add yeast and dissolve. Add the yeast now to the oats, with the flours and the salt. Blend well and knead until you have a smooth dough. (You’ll probably need more flour, I’d guess.)

Leave to rise until double. Punch down, knead for a few moments, then shape into two rounds. Place on cornmeal-scattered baking sheets to rise again. Using a sharp knife, slash each round with four parallel slashes.

Mix 2 beaten eggs with 8 ounces of room-temperature heavy cream and 4 ounces of melted butter. Coat the top of each bannock with this mixture and set remainder aside.

Bake in a preheated 425-degree (F) (GM cites 218 C) oven for about 50 minutes, stopping every 15 minutes to coat the top with more egg cream and reducing the heat by 10 degrees.

Cool before slicing.
What impressive recipies, Audeo. Your grandmother must have been quite a lady (and cook!). You're very fortunate to have such a legacy of family recipies.
PA Baker said:
What impressive recipies, Audeo. Your grandmother must have been quite a lady (and cook!). You're very fortunate to have such a legacy of family recipies.

Thanks, PA. Indeed, she was. And I have a clear memory of her grabbing some gentleman by the hair of his head and yanking him out of her chair once and pulling me up into her lap and singing a song. I was too young then to remember the details now (it was probably my grandfather!), but suffice it to say she lived up to the stereotype of Scot temper and stubborness. And the lady could definately drink, laugh, and cook!

I treasure every memory and every word I have in writing from her!
Thanks everyone so much! I can't even decide which recipe to try first, but I'm sure I will try them all. I promise to report back!

Have a great weekend!
I must be dyxelics. All this time I thought it was strAUn instead of strUAn.
I don't know, I could have the spelling wrong . . . but I am thankful to see that everyone knew what I meant! Thanks! :)
Dawnsey said:
I don't know, I could have the spelling wrong . . . but I am thankful to see that everyone knew what I meant! Thanks! :)

Nope. You're right. I checked the spelling and it is struan. Don't know why I had straun in my head all these years.
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