As with every newbie homesteader, I’ve found that you slowly become more and more in love with it. ‘I can’t just stop with a simple pot of herbs?’ you tell your husband. Then a few carrots and tomatoes get added to the garden, and before you know it, you have an entire backyard of chickens and a garden the size of your apartment. Next, with out any convincing needed, canning and bread making start to takeover whatever little time you had left. It’s like once you see how beautifully simple and peaceful this kind of hard work can be, you just can’t go back to the way things were.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m not a super advanced bread maker, but I really do enjoy it and I’m still determined to be great at it. Today’s loaf is a light oatmeal honey bread adapted from Bojon Gourmet’s blog. I don’t even know how I stumbled upon her blog, but this particular recipe is officially on my list of ‘must make’ every week.
Honey Oatmeal Bread
(adapted from this recipe)
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 tablespoons (2 1/4 ounces) honey
2 ounces (4 tablespoons/half a stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) boiling water
1 packet (1/4 ounce/2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast (or 1 packet instant yeast, or 2 tablespoons fresh cake yeast)
1 cup whole wheat bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 – 2 cups white bread flour (if you don’t have bread flour, take a tablespoon of flour out of every cup of white flour and add in 1 TBS of vital wheat gluten)
1) Add oats, honey and butter in a large heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the ingrediants and stir to combine. Let cool to 100-110 degrees, stirring occasionally to melt the butter.
2) Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture, and stir for about 30 seconds to incorporate it. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes till nice and bubbly.
3) Stir the whole wheat flour and salt into the yeast/oat mixture. Add 1 cup of the white flour, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Continue adding more flour until a shaggy dough forms.
4) Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface and cover the dough with the bowl and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. (I don’t have a picture for this one, but aren’t these little hands so cute?!)
5) Knead the dough vigorously for 10 minutes by pressing it away from you with the heels of your hands, then folding the far edge over the dough (towards you), turning the dough 1/4, and repeating for 10 minutes. As you knead, dust the surface and your hands with just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking. The finished dough should have a slight sheen and be fairly smooth. It will be slightly tacky to the touch.
6) Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl at least twice the size of the dough (or in a large, plastic container), turn the dough to coat it lightly in oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or the lid). Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. At this point, you can let the dough rise again if you wish, or stick it in the fridge for up to 24 hours; if you do, let it come up to room temperature before working with it.
7) When the dough has finished its first rise, gently scrape it out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured surface. Press the dough into an oval about 1 inch thick, with a skinny end facing you. Roll up the dough from this end and into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam closed, tuck the ends under, and roll the seam-side of the loaf on the counter a few times to secure it closed.
8) Place the loaf seam-side down in a lightly-oiled 9×5″ loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let the loaf rise until the tallest part sits 1 1/2 inches above the rim of the pan (it should be roughly doubled in bulk). Mist the loaf lightly with water and sprinkle with a handful of oats.
9) Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350º.
10) Bake the loaf until the top is deeply browned and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped, 45-55 minutes, rotating the loaf halfway through baking. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 210º.
11) Let the loaf cool 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely on a rack at room temperature, 1 – 2 hours. The bread is still baking from residual heat, so do try to resist the urge to cut into it before it has cooled completely…(I almost always fail at this 😉 )
Store in a plastic bag at room temperature. The bread keeps well for up to 4 or 5 days.
P.S Can anyone cut a perfectly straight slice of bread?