Monday, December 11, 2006

Oatmeal Bread

Before we were married, my husband lived with a couple who would make homemade oatmeal bread all the time. They passed down the recipe to me, and I have tried to reproduce it a few times with varying success. I've never watched anyone make bread, so all the subtleties of breadmaking were lost on me. Gluten window? Proofing yeast? Huh? I've been trying to read up on breadmaking, and this weekend I tried the recipe again. I think my main problem the last couple times was lack of patience and a desire to have control over the whole process. If it is supposed to take an hour for the dough to rise, then by golly, I will give it an hour. But no more than an hour! Alas, bread making doesn't work that way. Well this time I exercised patience, and came closer to a nice fluffy loaf of oatmeal bread than I have with past attempts.

Oatmeal bread

1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp margarine

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Add 2 cups boiling water and stir to combine.

Dissolve one package of dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. When oat batter is cooled to lukewarm, add yeast/water mixture. Gradually stir in about 5 cups white flour until dough stops sticking to your hands as you mix in the flour.

When dough is not sticky, knead for 5-10 minutes. Spray the bowl with non-stick cooking spray (or grease it), and put the dough inside. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled (about one hour). Punch down dough, then flatten it and roll it into two loaves. Place loaves in greased bread pans. Cover with towel and let rise about 45 minutes. Uncover.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

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