I haven’t bought bread for a few weeks, maybe months, and it feels good. I got tired of spending $3-4 on a loaf that was only sort of good and had a bunch of 14-letter ingredients; or on the ones that didn’t but felt sort of like a brick going down.
Coming up with a good recipe, especially at high altitudes, has been a process of trial and error. Don’t worry, I’ll include the yeast measure for low elevations too. I still get it wrong sometimes, like, for example, the loaves in these pictures got 1 teaspoon rather than 1 tablespoon of salt (the kid still eats it, so it’s not too bad, but the bread rose a lot faster). But I still think this product is better than others. And cheaper, even with the expensive flour.
I started by working with a recipe that I liked, but one night Matt asked if it was just him, or did it really taste like plastic? I decided to modify the recipe, if you can imagine. So, after much practice, I think I have a pretty good recipe, although I use three kinds of flours from King Arthur to get more whole grain. (The original recipe calls for mostly white flour) I will put my random flour in brackets and you can do what you like pertaining to flours.
A 100% whole wheat bread is usually really heavy and difficult to get light. With a bit of white bread flour I have largely overcome that, but if you want to use all whole wheat flour, a lighter dough can also be achieved with a dough enhancer. I haven’t tried it, because there are too many ingredients in it for my liking. I like to stick to what I can understand.
Yes, bread takes A LONG TIME, but requires very little ACTUAL work. So I do it on days when I will be sticking around the house anyway.
First, technique, then the recipe.
Add the oatmeal, honey, salt, and melted butter to the bowl. This can be done in a mixer or just a big mixing bowl.
Pour in the boiling water and stir.
Let this sit until the bowl is very warm to the touch, but not hot. You will be adding your yeast next, so you don’t want to kill it. (Store yeast in your freezer, it will keep indefinitely.)
Measure your flours and yeast into another bowl.
When the oatmeal mixture is cool enough, stir in the yeast and flours until it begins to come together.
Knead the dough in the mixer 5-7 minutes, or by hand on a floured board for 10. I prefer by hand, but it’s so much easier to do by mixer I can’t bring myself to do it anymore. If the dough is still sticky, add flour 2T at a time until it no longer sticks to the board or until it sticks only to the bottom of the bowl. Place in oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
Let rise until doubled – about 1 hour. Spray two bread pans with non-stick spray.
Turn the dough out, divide into two even pieces. If you want to weigh it, they should each be about 2 pounds.
Flatten the dough into a square as wide as your bread pan, and roll into a loaf shape, sealing the edge to the roll. Place gently into pan, seam side down.
Cover both pans with the plastic wrap from bowl. Let rise until dough has crowned 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350. Turn out of pan and let cool completely before slicing.
Oatmeal Honey Wheat Bread
makes 2 loaves
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. honey
4 T. butter, softened
1 T. salt
1 T. instant yeast [2 to 2 1/4 t. at high elevations]
1 1 /2 c. whole wheat flour
4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour [2 c. bread flour + 2 c. white whole wheat flour]
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, oats, honey, butter and salt. Let cool to warm.
2. Add the yeast and flours, stirring to form a rough dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and satiny (10 minutes by hand, 5 to 7 minutes by machine). Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
3. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a loaf. Place the loaves in two greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pans. Cover the pans with the lightly greased plastic wrap and allow the loaves to rise until they’ve crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the interior registers 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and the loaves are golden brown.