Saturday, January 14, 2012

Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread

My new favorite bread recipe!  Great for toast and super yummy to dip into soup.  Especially butternut squash and pear soup.  But that is another post.  I got the recipe from King Arthur Flour and changed it just a little because I didn't have all the ingredients.  This makes two 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 loaves.

I love making my own bread.  It tastes so much better than the bread you buy at the grocery store and of course you know exactly what is in it.  I think it is a fun weekend project.  One that is easy to do if you have the time and perfect for when you are bouncing between dishes, laundry, vacuuming and dog walks!  This made a really nice bread, softer and less crumbly than the anadama that I like to make, but with similar flavors from the brown sugar and the honey.  I think you'll really like it! 

2 cups boiling water (set aside 1/4 cup to proof the yeast - let it cool to about 100 degrees)
1 cup rolled oats (plus more to roll the loaves in before the second proof)
1/2 cup brown sugar (King Arthur called for maple sugar)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Saigon-type cinnamon
1 tablespoon dry active yeast  
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour  

In a large mixing bowl, combine the water (less 1/4 cup), oats, brown sugar, honey, butter, salt and cinnamon. Let cool to lukewarm. 

When the 1/4 cup of water has cooled to about 100 degrees pour it over the yeast in a small bowl and allow to proof.  This should take about 10 minutes. 

Add the yeast and flours, stirring to form a rough dough.  I like to leave out at least a cup and a half of flour and work it in as I am kneading the dough.  Knead about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and satiny. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.  I think it took about an hour and a half for my dough to double.  Make sure you have a nice warm spot to let the dough rise in.  If you keep your house cool like I do a good place can be the laundry room if you have been running the dryer!  I am lucky enough to have a proofing option on my oven - yay for Jenn Air!

When the dough has doubled in bulk punch down and divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a loaf.  Roll in the extra oats.  Place the loaves in two greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pans. Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow the loaves to rise till they've crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour. 

Bake the loaves in a preheated 360°F oven for 33 minutes.  If your oven can't be set at 360°F, set it at 350°F and bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove them from the oven when they're golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  King Arthur suggests using an instant read thermometer and making sure the "interior has reached 190 degrees."  I don't have an instant read thermometer, nor do I think I would like to jab one into a loaf of bread to see that it was done.  I just looked at them, golden and crusty - good, and tapped them, slightly hollow - good, and decided they were done!

Turn out on wire racks and allow to cool.  Resist the temptation to cut into them right away!  I know, I know, there is nothing better than fresh hot bread with butter!  But trust me it is best to wait.  Because then you can slice it and toast it and slather on butter and blackberry jam.  And that makes for a very tasty breakfast!

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