I’ve really had the urge to bake bread lately.
Is that weird or is that my new normal? Too early to tell.
Anyways, as you all have probably already guessed, I love browsing other people’s cooking blogs. It’s amazing to me how recipes develop and how cooks come up with combinations of ingredients to use. It’s really a form of art with a little science thrown in. I actually find it quite fascinating – and love seeing something basic pushed a little bit to make something new.
The recipe I used today is one such recipe. When I first saw it at Barefeet in the Kitchen, I immediately added it to my wishlist. And it hasn’t taken me that long to make it myself.
Maple Oatmeal Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen
1 3/4 c lukewarm water
1 c whole milk
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1 1/2 T yeast
1 T kosher salt
1/4 c olive oil
2 c old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
3 1/4 c flour
Mix the water, milk, yeast, maple syrup and oil in a large bowl or a lidded (not airtight) storage container. I used a bowl, covered with plastic wrap – with a couple small holes poked in. Next, add in the whole wheat flour, AP flour and oatmeal and stir until combined. Let this rest on the counter, covered, in the non-airtight container, for approximately 2-3 hours. The dough should rise and then collapse (flatten on top). Store this dough in the refrigerator for up to a week.
On Baking Day: Grease three 9x4x3-inch loaf pans and set aside. Sprinkle flour on a silpat mat or the counter. Sprinkle flour across the top of the refrigerator dough and then cut or tear off a one-third section of it. Flour your hands and quickly shape the dough into a ball and stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotate the ball as you go around it shaping the dough. Keep in mind that this is a very wet dough. Sprinkle flour as needed on the surface of the dough while you
are working with it. Place the dough (folded ends tucked underneath) inside the loaf pan. Stretch it slightly to form more of an oval in the pan. Repeat for the other three loaves. Allow them to rise for 2 1/2 – 3 hours on the counter. Sprinkle flour on the top of the loaves just before baking.
Twenty minutes before it’s time to make the bread, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty broiler tray or pan on the lowest shelf of the oven.
Place your bread in the oven and then pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray (or pan). Quickly close the oven door. (This is essential for breads with a cracked crust. The steam from the water creates the lovely crust.) Bake for 45-50 minutes or until deeply browned and firm. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.
Okay, how did I not realize that this would make really small loaves?? It’s kind of obvious when I reread it – but I think I was in skimming-mode originally. Plus I was super-focused on the “Sandwich Bread” part of the title. And when I picture ‘sandwich bread’, I picture a big loaf. I honestly thought I would have three large loaves… oh, well. Not necessarily a bad thing, just a bit unexpected.
One of the best things about this recipe is that it is amazingly easy. Add ingredients, mix, let sit, bake. I love that.
The bread, itself, was really good. Light and almost spongy, with a just barely sweet flavor. I was worried that the texture would be a little strange with all the oats in it, but you can’t tell at all.
Besides the disappointment with size (which was completely my own fault for not reading carefully), the bread was great. I’ve had it with a little butter, toasted, and also dipped into potato-leek soup – and it’s been wonderful each time.
Now I’m off to make some mini-sandwiches.
Just means I can have more, right?