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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tried & True Oatmeal Bread

Here's another recipe I've made for years and years.  It's slightly adapted from the  More-with-Less Cookbook -- which you should own by the way -- and comes out pretty much perfect every time, no matter what I do or forget to do.

Fill your teapot and set it to boil.

Meanwhile, combine (you can do this all by hand but I use my stand mixer with the dough hook attached):
  • 1 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 T butter
When the water has come to a boil, pour 2 cups over the mixture in the bowl.  Stir to combine (and to melt the butter).  Let this mixture sit until it has cooled to a temperature between 105 and 120 degrees -- I stick my old candy thermometer in the bowl and that works great.

While the mixture is cooling, dissolve yeast into some water and let it sit for a few minutes:
  • 1 pkg dry yeast (or 2 1/4 t)
  • 1/2 c warm water
When the batter has cooled sufficiently, add the dissolved yeast to the bowl.   Then add:
  • 5 c white flour
At this point I let my stand mixer do the job and just set it on a low speed and let it go.  After a few minutes this is what it looks like!  This bread comes out best if you don't add any more flour.  The finished dough will be a little soft and sticky but this is good -- comes out better that way!

[If you are doing this by hand just go ahead and knead the dough until it looks like the above -- you may have to add a wee bit more flour.]

Remove the dough from the mixer bowl, shape into a ball, and place in a clean, lightly-oiled bowl.  Cover with a cloth and let it sit somewhere warm until it doubles in size.


This has doubled in size.  At this point you are supposed to punch the dough down and let it rise again...  but I forgot about that step this time and went ahead and formed the two loaves.  The bread came out just fine, so yeah, it really doesn't matter if you forget that step, I guess!

I usually form two loaves and place them on my baking stone -- you can put the loaves into bread pans if you like more crust.  I tend to go for the free-form country look!

Bake in a 350 degree oven until browned nicely -- set your timer for 30 minutes and check then.  The bread is done when it's nicely browned on the bottom and makes a hollow "thud" when you tap it on the bottom.

This bread make awesome toast -- spread with butter & honey, your favorite jam, nut butter, etc.