A lot of breads

Uh, hi! I know we've been doing a lot of breads around here lately, but I'm not ready to stop. I'm sorry. If you're in more of a vegetable mood, I won't be offended if you go over and poke around over here, or maybe over here. It's just that with all the local grains from our CSA, we're on kind of a bread kick around here. There's something about grinding our own grains and then baking with them that we can't get enough of. Next up, oatmeal sandwich bread, from Good to the Grain.

This is a truly multi-grain bread—part whole wheat, part all-purpose, and part rolled oats. It's amazing—you put a cup of oats into two loaves of bread, and when you bake them, you get all of their sweetness but none of their texture. Do they just melt? Does the yeast eat them? I have no idea. But I like the fact that even though they dissolve, their essence is there. It reminds me of the feeling I get when I look at recipes written out in my great-grandmother's handwriting. We've never met, but I know she's in there.

Anyway, it's also a fairly easy bread. Like all bread this one takes time—a half hour rest, an hour rise, another rise and forty minutes in the oven at the end—but this time of year, between the cold and the dark, time is what we've got. And the end result—two loaves that actually bloom up, out of the pan—is well worth any scrimping and pinching you might have had to do to come up with the window.


This recipe is adapted slightly from the one Kim Boyce lays out in Good to the Grain on page 130. As you might guess, it is a nice soft loaf, and perfect for sandwiches. I find it also makes excellent toast.

E.H. note 11.26.12: I made this bread yesterday with all spelt flour, and it turned out beautifully. 

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons honey
2 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Grease a large bowl and two bread loaf pans. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast, and honey with a wooden spoon. Let sit for 5 minutes to proof.

When the yeast is bubbly, use the spoon to stir in the flours, oats, and butter. Cover this mixture with a damp dishtowel and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Attach the bread hook to the mixer. Add the salt and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Stay close-by and watch the process carefully; you want the dough to slap the sides of the bowl, not stick to them. If it starts to stick at any time sprinkle in a few spoonfuls of flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead it a few times, then transfer it to the buttered bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp dishtowel, put it in a warm place, and leave the dough to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divided it into two balls. Gently shape each ball into a rectangle, and place it in the buttered pans. Cover the pans with a damp dishtowel and let the bread rise in a warm place a second time, until doubled in size.

Near the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with rolled oats and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top of the loaves are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.


Anonymous said...

Mmmm, I can't wait to try this. We, too, are baking a lot of bread these day. What better way to warm up the house on a bitter cold day than with the smell of freshly baked bread? This looks like another winner. I hope to try it this week. Thanks! ~A Maine Reader

Anonymous said...

Since Andy dubbed one of your recent breads (the rye bread recipe, but we used whole wheat)"The Best Bread Ever" I will most definitely have to try this. xoxoxo anna

Patty said...

Oatmeal bread was next on my list of baking "chores," and this is just the kind of recipe I was looking for. But I will mix and knead by hand. I am sure it will be delish!

Bie said...

what a wonderful way to use oatmeal. Sounds great. Think of me when you eat it. xoxo biee

Elspeth said...

To my Maine reader,

That is exactly why we bake! When it gets too chilly in here I decide it's just time for another loaf of bread.


That is high praise. I feel very honored, not that I really had anything to do with the recipe development or execution. But still. I like the whole wheat idea, and will have to try it soon.


Aren't "chores" wonderful sometimes? I was just reading one of my favorite blogs—Are So Happy—and the woman who writes it has been laid up for several months, pregnant, with a broken ankle. She said that she used to think it was her creative work—things like knitting and sewing—that sustained her through the chores, but once she was on bedrest, she didn't feel like doing any of the creative work she had so much time for, and she realized it was the other way around. I liked that realization. Sometimes, it's the routine things that sustain us, and bread is definitely one of those for me.


I will. I always do.


Anonymous said...

I started Maine's pioneering whole grain bakery in Brunswick in 1978 and ran it for five years before selling it in 1983. Our Shaker Oatmeal bread was one of the most popular breads of the 35 we made. I'd suggest you replace the honey with Crosby 4 star molasses and up the quantity to leave some residual sweetness. Dust the top of each loaf with rolled oats. Be sure to use a bread flour, and if you want the very best flavor, grind your berries fresh in a grain mill like the SAMAP 2,000 I used.

Elspeth said...

thanks for the tip! it's hard to know if our csa wheat berries are ever an exact match for bread flour, but we have experimented with different kinds of wheat and found some work better for yeast breads than others. and we always grind them fresh—i agree it makes a big difference!

all the best,

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