Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oatmeal Bread

Delightful toasted, the oats impart a slightly nutty taste. Truly decadent when spread with butter fresh out of the oven; add a hot pot of tea with honey. Sometimes on a Saturday night I'll pull this out of the oven, place a carefully sliced hot loaf of it, along with pots of jam, butter and big mugs of steaming Ovaltine, onto a tray, leave it on the tea table in the living room and watch it all disappear within minutes.

If you only have large flake oats, just chop them up with a food processor or put into a plastic bag and vigourously rub together with both your hands to make smaller bits. If you don't want to do that, just use the large flake, however, the bread will be airy and less chewy. We prefer the bread a smaller flake produces.

Oatmeal Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water - 1st amount
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar - 1st amount
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast or 1 packet of yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water - 2nd amount
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar - 2nd amount
  • 1 Tbsp. salt, heaping
  • 3 cups quick cook oatmeal (this is just large flakes that have been cut to a finer meal)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • approximately 2 and 1/2 scoops of all-purpose flour or enough flour to make a soft dough with which to begin kneading
Mix the first three ingredients into a large bowl and set aside.
Measure out the second amount of water, oil, second amount of sugar and salt.
Mix this into the first ingredients in the big bowl.
Add the whole wheat flour and oatmeal. Sometimes, if there is some left-over cooked Red River cereal or oatmeal porridge from the morning's breakfast, I'll add it. That can be added now. The most I've added at a time is 2 - 3 cups. More than this and the bread will not rise well. When the cooked cereal is added, the dough will take up more flour during the mixing on account of the extra water in the cooked cereal.
Add the all-purpose flour to make a nice soft dough ready to knead. My scoop is 32 oz.
Stir the mixture together until it looks about like this below and then scrape onto a floured work surface. Begin kneading. Go to DD Sourdough Bread - A Primer in Breadmaking to see more about kneading and breadmaking.
If it sticks like this, to the work surface,
add a handful more of flour and continue to knead. I added probably four more little handfuls of flour to this batch.
The dough is ready for it's first rising when it feels smooth and satiny to your fingertips. It also will not spread all over the work surface but will hold it's shape well.
Oil the bowl, slide the dough around in it to coat it completely, turn the dough smooth side up and pop into the warmed oven. Leave the oven light on. If the kitchen is cool flick the oven on just long enough to warm up the interior, then flick it off again.
Let it rise until doubled. Remove the dough by sliding your hands down alongside the bowl sides. The dough will gently deflate by itself. Lift out and place onto the work surface. Flip it over, finish deflating and decide what to shape it into.
We like this dough made into loaves for toasting and for lunch buns. I divided it into three balls each weighing 1 3/4 pounds to make the loaves. I could have divided each of the smaller balls shown above into 12 dinner rolls to bake 15 minutes @ 400 F.

After measuring off the dough for loaves, I had 2 pounds left over. This may vary depending on how much flour the dough took up while kneading but especially if you added leftover cooked cereal, the amount of dough will be greater. I needed some lunch buns so decided to make eight large buns.I could have turned the two pound piece of dough into 16 smaller buns and placed them into two eight-inch round pans, eight buns to a pan. One pound of dough works well for those size pans. Those pans would have baked 15 minutes at 400 F. Multi-Purpose White Bread has more on dividing up dough which can be applied to this Oatmeal Bread. If you find yourself with an odd weight of dough, ziploc the extra and freeze it to be added to a future batch.

Coat three loaf pans with lard and sprinkle with large flake oats. Shape the loaves and place into the pans. For the buns, dip each into some large flake oats before placing onto pans.
Put them to rise, until doubled, in the oven with the light left on. These below just came out after rising and were waiting for the oven to heat up for baking. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake the three loaves together. A rectangular pan of buns should bake one at a time. Two 8-inch round pans will fit in the oven together for baking. Rotate the pans half-way through the bake time for even baking.These buns were large and took as long to bake as did the loaves - 20 minutes at 400 F. 10 or 12 buns would have only taken 15 minutes at 400 F. Tap the bread. It will sound hollow when done. Remove from pans right out of the oven and cool on racks.Footnote: I just made this the other day and changed the whole wheat to 3 cups, which means I didn't have to add as much all-purpose flour. I also didn't have time to bake, so after the dough had risen once, I deflated it and put the dough in the fridge overnight. Next morning, some of the dough had creeped out of the ziplocs but I just kneaded it back in, let the dough rise again in the bowl and then rise after shaped, in the pans. It was delicious and the crust a bit more crispy and chewy.


Leila said...

Your pictures are the soul of clarity.

After the spent grain dough and the meatloaf/meatballs (post to come) I had to promise myself to stop baking and cooking for a while.

I don't have a hoard of hungry people around to eat it all up. My freezers are full. No more!!!

It's fun though... :)

Mental P Mama said...

How beautiful is this? I am going to make this for my hungry children! And I might have a bite myself;)

Jan Verhoeff said...

My favorite breads are oatmeal and multi-grain. I think this is the best looking recipe I've seen. I'll be trying it soon.

Thank you!


Decadent Housewife said...

Thanks all for the kind words. I do hope you all try the bread.