Honey Oatmeal Bread

Two years ago, homemade bread was a weekly ritual around here. Well, maybe not weekly, but I made it A LOT. Whole wheat bread, no-knead bread, baguettes, flatbread, ciabatta, rye breads, quick breads. Bread baking was therapy for me after a stressful week. It’s one of many things that fell by the wayside when little Gabi was born.

I still bake bread, but very rarely. When I do, I savor everything about it: the feel of the dough, the smell as it bakes. And of course, the first bite.

This oat bread comes from the King Arthur Flour’s book on whole grain baking — one of the best tomes on bread baking. This bread has a mild sweetness to it, thanks to the honey. The oats are slightly nutty and dissolve into the dough. The loaf is moist. The crumb is tight enough for sandwiches. However, I highly recommed a pat of melty butter and raspberry jam.

One of the keys to good bread baking is knowing just when to pull the loaf from the oven. The people at King Arthur make this easy. Poke an instant read thermometer into the middle of the loaf and pull it out when the temp reaches 198 degrees F. Do this with any loaf you bake and it will save you lots of heartache.

Honey Oatmeal Bread
King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) boiling water
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup honey
1 cup (4 ounces) traditional whole wheat flour
1 2/3 cups (7 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast

Place the boiling water, oats, butter, salt and honey into a medium bowl (use bowl of your stand mixer if using), stir, and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.

Combine the rest of the ingredients with the oat mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer. Knead by hand or with dough hook until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 hour. The dough should be doubled in bulk.

Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Gently deflate the dough. It will be sticky so oil your hands. Shape the dough into a 9-inch log. Place into the pan. Cover again with plastic wrap and allow it to rise until it has crowned over the rim of the pan, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Near the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Uncover and bake the bread for about 45 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The bread is done when it’s golden brown and an instant-read termometer inserted in the center register 190 degrees F. Remove it from the oven, and after a  minute or so turn it out onto a rack. Brush with melted butter, if desired. This will keep the crust soft. Cool the bread before cutting it.


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