(Actually over a month.)
That’s how long it’s been since I baked a loaf bread.
Withdrawals had commenced. Cravings had been squashed. Life had seemed to move on…
But then I cracked.
Oh, well… at least I made a somewhat ‘healthy’ bread.
(That’s what I’m telling myself as I enjoy slices slathered with butter for dessert.)
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread, adapted from White On Rice Couple
1 c water
1 c milk
1 T active dry yeast
1 T honey
2 T unsulphured molasses
3 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c wheat germ
1 c bread flour
1 c rolled oats
4 T butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 T sea salt
On low heat, warm milk and water to about 115 F. Combine water, milk, yeast, honey, and molasses in the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir to dissolve yeast. Add remaining ingredients and use the bread hook to mix for about 6 minutes on medium speed (or knead by hand for about 10 minutes). Dough should form a ball around the hook – if it’s sticking to the sides, add an additional tablespoon or two+ of flour until it forms a ball. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Lightly grease 9x5x3 bread loaf pan.
Punch down dough and knead into loaf shape on a lightly floured surface. Place in loaf pan, cover, and let rise for an additional hour or until it just begins to puff up over the sides of the loaf pan. (While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 F.)
Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The loaf is done baking when the crust is dark brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove the loaf from the pan and allow to full cool on a baking rack.
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve made bread when I start to question my own gut-knowledge of bread baking and instead rely on parts of a recipe that just don’t sound exactly right…
First off, in the original recipe, they have the dough rise in the mixer bowl, from just where it’d been mixed. So I did it… and remembered why you move it to a greased bowl: the rising dough gets sticky again and attaches itself to all the sides of the bowl, making it hard to dump out and knead. (I did change this in the recipe above).
Secondly, it is suggested to add some oats onto the top for decoration. But they don’t suggest this until after the second rise and right before baking. So, as I sprinkled my oats on top and gently pressed them into the dough, I collapsed the middle of my bread. And then they all fell off anyways after baking. Grrr. If you’d like to make a pretty topping, I suggest adding the oats right before the second rise, so they can embed themselves in the bread while rising.
I just hate that I knew better in both instances, but I doubted myself since it’d been a while.
The good news is, neither mistake caused any issues with the flavor of the bread at all.
It’s definitely a wheat bread, but its got a sweet undertone from the honey and molasses. It’s also a little dense, so not as light as most of the white breads I’ve made in the past – but it’s not dense in a bad way. Overall, it’s so much better than any store-bought bread – plus you get the bonus of the aroma of freshly baking bread in the house… which is worth it’s weight in gold to me.
And it’s my new favorite treat – with butter, no less.
(Can I just take a minute to share that this is the first time we’ve used butter in this house in a month! Before that, I was buying a new box of butter at least once a week. Yikes! Probably a good thing we’ve cut back.)
Now to plan out my next bread adventure…
(Because I’m not giving bread baking up. I just can’t do it.)
Have a wonderful end of the week!