Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oatmeal Bread...Again

Without even realizing it, the next recipe I decided to tackle was a loaf of oatmeal sandwich bread.  You'd think I was on a quest to find the best oatmeal bread out there or something...but truthfully, I had completely forgotten that I made oatmeal sandwich bread 2 posts ago.  Probably because I was a slacker in September...sorry about that, guys.  I'll chalk it up to being in a new house, without my usual arsenal of cookware, and not having Erik to eat half of my culinary experiments.  (Erik has moved on to grad school, did I mention that?  I forget.  I'm now living in Hadwen House.  It is the first house I lived in on Nantucket, so it feels like everything is coming full circle). 

But anyway, back to the bread.  It is a loaf that I've had my eye on for a while now, first spotted on Brown Eyed Baker, though it comes courtesy of the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook.  Which is on my Christmas list, FYI.  Just in case you're planning ahead. 

For all intents and purposes, it is quite similar to the other oatmeal bread.  I suppose the major difference is that bread #1 was sweetened with molasses, while this bread is sweetened with honey, though a touch more of it, which results in a slightly sweeter bread that is lighter lighter in color.  And although the amount of oats used in both recipes is the same, I think bread #2 (the one I'm blogging about now) has a slightly nuttier, crunchier texture.  Perhaps because you let #1's dough sit and soften and absorb the liquids for a while before kneading?  I'm not sure.  But here's what I can say.  They're both delicious, and I will definitely make both again. 

But since we're on #2 right now, I will tell you what makes this particular recipe stand out: the ingredient amounts are in ounces!  This is great, because I can just pop my mixing bowl on my kitchen scale, and keep hitting "tare" as I add my ingredients.  This is especially fantastic with the honey--no sticky measuring cups for me!  The original recipe calls for instant yeast, which you can just mix in with the other dry ingredients, no proofing needed.  However, if you only have active dry on hand, as I did, reduce the amount of water that you mix into the oatmeal mixture by 1/4 cup, and then, while the oatmeal mixture is cooling, measure out 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F), sprinkle the yeast on top, mix or swirl it, then let it proof for 5-10 minutes.  Your yeast should look creamy and have a few bubbles on the surface--if it looks like this, mix in into the oatmeal mixture, then add the dry ingredients.  If it doesn't look like this your yeast may be old, or your water too hot or too cold.  Either way, start again with fresh yeast, because if you mix in bad yeast your bread won't rise.  The other thing I would note is that  I needed to add a fair amount of flour as I kneaded this dough--it's quite sticky!  Michelle of BEB said that she added "a few extra tablespoons," but I think I added nearly a cup!  Either way, keep a measuring cup on hand that you can sprinkle from, so you don't need to dip your sticky doughy hands in your flour repeatedly.  So without further ado, the recipe:

Oatmeal Honey Sandwich Bread (From Brown Eyed Baker and King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking)
Makes 1 loaf

* 1¼ cups (10 ounces) boiling water
* 1 cup (3½ ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
* 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
* 1½ teaspoons salt
* ¼ cup (3 ounces) honey
* 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
* 1-2/3 cups (7 ounces) all-purpose flour
* ¼ cup (1 ounce) nonfat dry milk
* 2 teaspoons instant yeast (If using active dry, look at instructions above)

1. Place the boiling water, oats, butter, salt and honey into a medium bowl, stir, and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.

2.  Add remaining dry ingredients, stir until combined.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and smooth.  

3.  Place dough in a greased bowl (cooking spray works well for this).  Rotate the bread around the bowl until it's lightly greased on all sides, then cover and put in a draft free place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in bulk.

4. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  Lightly grease a surface and your hands, and gently deflate your dough, shaping it into an 8 x 5 inch square while you do so.  Starting on the short side, roll the dough into a tight log.  (For a nice illustration of how this is supposed to look, check out Brown Eyed Baker.  My hands were too greasy to take my own pictures!)

5. When the dough is rolled into a log, pinch the seam and pinch the ends.  Roll the log back and forth a few times to ensure that it's of even thickness, not tapered at the ends.  Place the dough in your greased loaf pan, seam side down, and cover lightly with saran wrap.  Allow to rise for another hour to an hour and a half, until the bread is crowning over the top about an inch and a half.  When the bread is nearly there, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake for 45 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 minutes so it doesn't over brown. 

6.  Cool the loaf for a few minutes in the pan before turning it out and cooling fully.  It will slice better if you allow the loaf cool completely before cutting in (bad Nantucket reference, sorry), but I understand completely if you can't wait to slather a slice with butter or jam and enjoy.  If you want bonus points for presentation, brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with some more oats.  I used up all my oatmeal on this one, so I had to skip that step...

If anyone is inspired enough to bake both loaves, let me know which your favorite is--I can't decide for myself.  Either way you'll feel like a champ after you bake one of these easy and delicious loaves, which are excellent for toast and sandwiches.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. It actually looks like a loaf of bread!

    You have finally achieved carbohydrate perfection.

    ...wish I could eat it.