As far as I’m concerned, bread baking is one of the best smells there is. I love the warm, yeasty smell of bread rising, and the nice crust you get when it’s done, along with that sense of accomplishment. So, since I was out of bread, I’m trying to empty out my pantry before I move out next week (and failing miserably), and my dad’s going to be in town this weekend and loves whole-wheat bread, I made wheat bread. There was logic in that decision somewhere, I’m sure. If you find it, let me know!
Ok, so this isn’t exactly whole wheat bread like my dad prefers, but I think it’s a pretty good compromise between our two preferences. This bread came together really easily, and rose quickly. I only had two small problems with it. The most universal one was that the bread was a little bit over-browned, so I probably should have tented it with aluminum foil partway through baking. The other problem is probably only mine, and that’s that this recipe uses oatmeal, which meant I had to make oatmeal. I get that it’s incredibly healthy, but oatmeal gives me the heebie-jeebies. As with most foods I’m not fond of (like scallops or flan), the texture just freaks me out. But I sucked it up, and I wouldn’t even know it was there if I hadn’t made it myself! This bread was a little bit sweet from the honey, and will be great for sandwiches, or maybe even french toast! It was a great use for my SMS preserves!
Oatmeal Wheat Bread
Adapted from Epicurious and Gourmet magazine
- 2 cups whole milk
- 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 (from 3 packages)
- 1/2 cup mild honey
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for buttering pans
- 3 cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour
- About 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Vegetable oil for oiling bowl
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water I used 1/2 Tbsp. melted butter
1. Heat milk and 1/2 stick butter in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over low heat until hot but not boiling, then remove pan from heat and stir in oats. Let stand, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooled to warm.
2. 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.) Look out, this foams a LOT! Stir yeast mixture, melted butter it’s already there, and remaining honey into cooled oatmeal.
3. Stir together whole-wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups unbleached 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). 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.
4. Lightly butter two 8×4 inch loaf pans I used 9×5. 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.
5. 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 (or just with melted butter), 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.)
6. Remove bread from pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
Also, since my dad will be here tomorrow, I thought I’d share some important things I’ve leard from him.
1. Always carry dog bones in your pocket. Even if you don’t have a dog.
2. Never throw the first punch. However, if you do throw the first punch, make sure you give fair warning.
3. If a boy doesn’t respect you enough to pick you up at the door, he’s not worth dating (although this one was usually phrased more along the lines of “I swear to god, if he sits in the driveway and honks the horn, you’re not leaving this house!”).
4. Everyone should have a nice, heavy pen.
5. You don’t have to like everyone.
6. It’s ok to skip a homework assignment every now and then, but it’s not ok to skip a big project. Pick and choose.
7. Algebra. Also, that math is a four-letter word.
8. Being a little weird is a good thing sometimes. It makes you stand out from the crowd.
9. Asparagus tastes way better warm than it does cold.
10. It is possible to penny someone’s door shut so far that it is impossible to get it back open.