Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oatmeal Wheat Bread

I need to apologize. I’ve baked countless loaves of this bread, and I’m just now sharing it with you. I was never in a hurry to photograph it because, well, if the lighting wasn’t right that day, no rush, I knew I’d make the bread again as soon as we ran out. In fact, even The Boy has “baked” this bread. And by that, I mean I do every single step, but then it might be time for me to go into work, or I might need a nap before a Christmas party, so he follows up and puts the bread in the oven, then takes it out when it’s done. Yes, he bakes bread.

This recipe yields TWO loaves of bread. The first time I made it, I halved it. But the bread was so amazing, I was kicking myself for not baking the full recipe. Recently I shared a 1/2 loaf with my coworker who was working the day shift editing the show I work on, and he left me a voicemail while he was stuck in traffic, snacking on my bread, exclaiming how wonderful it was! The oatmeal gets completely absorbed in the loaf, and it’s tender, soft, and mildly sweet. We love it as toast, sandwiches, grilled cheese, pretty much anything you’d use store-bought sandwich bread for. In fact, one week I didn’t have the opportunity to bake this bread, so I bought some at the store, and The Boy was very disappointed! (as was I) He said it just doesn’t compare to this bread.

I have adapted this recipe slightly. The original recipe calls for whole wheat flour and all purpose, but since I love and trust white whole wheat flour, I used that. Also, instead of melting the butter separately, I added it to the milk while it was warming. To see the original recipe just click on the link, but I can assure you, my adaption works great! And… stay tuned, because I have a delicious spin on this recipe coming soon!

PS. One of these days I’ll get proper loaf pans. This loaf was baked in a silicone pan, which is definitely not ideal for a yeasted bread recipe. It rose outward. And my other pan, a metal one, isn’t the correct size either. I do the best I can. Yeah… One day.


Oatmeal Wheat Bread

adapted from Gourmet Oct 2005


2 cups milk (skim works fine for me)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking) plus additional for topping
1/2 cup warm water (105-115°F)
2 tablespoons active dry yeast (about 3 packages)
1/2 cup mild honey
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
5 cups white whole-wheat flour, divided
1 tablespoon salt
Vegetable oil for oiling bowl
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Special equipment: 2 (8- by 4-inch) loaf pans


Heat milk and butter in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over low heat until hot but not boiling, and butter has melted. Then remove pan from heat and stir in oats. Let stand, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooled to warm.

Stir together water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon honey in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Stir yeast mixture, and remaining honey into cooled oatmeal.

Stir together 4 1/2 cups flour and salt in a large bowl. Add oat mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead with floured hands, adding just enough of remaining unbleached flour to keep from sticking, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes (dough will be slightly sticky). (Alternatively, combine ingredients in stand mixer with wooden spoon, then knead with bread hook 5-7 minutes.) Form dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel; let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Lightly butter loaf pans. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf, then place 1 loaf in each buttered pan, seam side down, tucking ends gently to fit. Cover loaf pans loosely with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly brush tops of loaves with some of egg wash and sprinkle with oats (I don't always do this, as you can see in the photo), then bake until bread is golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. (Remove 1 loaf from pan to test for doneness. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen.) If necessary, loosely cover bread with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Remove bread from pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

**And this time last year I was blogging this incredibly addictive Graham Cracker Candy my sister made for Thanksgiving. Wow… Talk about crazy good!**

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