Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oatmeal Bread

In trying to be frugal in our home, I have started making bread again. I had gotten away from it because my bread never cut well enough for sandwiches. This recipe is awesome, though and makes for great sandwiches. (And it is great with Nutella on it, for those who might have a special affection for Nutella!)

Oatmeal Sandwich and Toasting Bread

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour (I used both bread flour and unbleached store brand flour and they work just the same)
1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey (I used honey)
2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast*
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
3/4 cup raisins or currants (optional)
(I also added 4 tsp of Vital Gluten, available in the baking aisle of your grocery store)

*If you use active dry yeast, dissolve it in the warm milk before combining with the remaining ingredients.

Manual Method: In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough. Knead dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (5 minutes) till it's smooth. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk. Shape as directed below.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients (except the fruit) into the pan of your machine, program machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle, check dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or water; finished dough should be soft and supple. Add the raisins or currants about 3 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle. Shape as directed below.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, cover the pan (with an acrylic proof cover, or with lightly greased plastic wrap), and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, till it's crested 1 to 2 inches over the rim of the pan.

Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. Yield: 1 loaf

Also, I make mine in the stand mixer, just dump all the ingredients and mix away. I found that I have to add another cup of flour to bring it all together. When it is done kneading in the mixer, I transfer to a greased bowl and place in a warmed oven for two hours.