When I was cleaning off my hard drive last night I found the photos from a little recipe I have been remiss to share with you — oatmeal sandwich bread. As I said to a coworker yesterday, I feel like I could sleep for a week. Daylight saving time, coupled with a trip to visit friends Arkansas has left me a little weary. Plus, today is my darling boyfriend Ryan’s 32nd birthday and my thoughts and free time have been dedicated to baking cakes (eee! cannot wait to share this year’s cake with you) and strolling the aisles of Target looking for coordinated wrapping and tissue paper (because a well-planned gift wrap scheme is what makes my heart pitter-patter).
Oh! But the bread. The warm, soft and anything-but-bland whole grain bread. Made from a mix of rolled oats, all purpose and whole wheat flours this bread is something anyone could make with ingredients I am guessing are probably already on the shelves of your pantry. Flours beyond the traditional all purpose variety have caught my attention as of late both because of their versatility and, well, they taste better. Don’t get me wrong, all purpose has a permanent place in my kitchen but sometimes it is nice to introduce a new personality to the dinner party (or bread baking party, as it were).
I have baked from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain before (and have flagged about 95 percent of the other recipes to try) and am always struck by the intense flavor of grains other than wheat. Although I am probably not going to go as far as purchasing a sack of kamut flour anytime soon, using the same rolled oats in homemade bread that I microwave for my morning oatmeal seemed like a no brainer. The amount of yeast called for in this recipe seems to produce a much puffier loaf than shown on the pages of the cookbook but after testing this recipe several times and searching around on other sites I found that everyone else had also experienced an exaggerated mushroom topped bread. Pulling the mounded bread out of the oven was a bit shocking, however once the bread was cooled and sliced I was on board with the large surface area — more room to spread butter or layer sandwich fixings. Wrapped loosely in a plastic bag, this oatmeal sandwich bread has lasted for a week at room temperature. Each morning before another full day I carefully cut a single slice, toast it and spoon on my favorite marmalade. Then I slowly enjoy each bite while I sip my coffee. I may desperately need to visit the grocery store, but having homemade toast for breakfast every morning over the last few days has been a tremendous comfort.
oatmeal sandwich bread
adapted from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours
yields one 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf
butter for the bowl and pan
1 package (2-1/4oz) active dry yeast
3T unsulphured molasses
2-1/2c whole wheat flour
2c bread flour
1c rolled oats
2oz (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1T kosher salt
Lightly butter a large mixing bowl and a loaf pan about 9- by 5- by 3-inches.
In the bowl of an electric mixer add 2 cups of warm water, yeast and molasses. Stir together with your fingers to allow the yeast to begin to dissolve. Let the mixture sit and rest for 5 minutes.
Add the flours, oats, and butter into the standing mixer bowl with the yeast mixture. Stir together with a wooden spoon (the dough will not completely come together, it will look scraggly). Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for 30 minutes.
Using the hook attachment mix on medium speed for 6 minutes. Add the salt before mixing. The dough may make a bit of a racket as it slaps around the bowl, but it should do so without sticking. If it starts to stick, add a tablespoon or two of the bread flour until the dough comes away from the bowl. The dough should be slightly tacky, but soft.
Lightly flour a large work surface and remove the dough from the bowl onto the counter. Use a rubber spatula to get all of the dough removed from the bowl. Knead the dough a few times and place into the buttered bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise for one hour or until it has doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto the floured work surface. Using your fingertips, press the dough and work it into a square shape while simultaneously pressing out the bubbles. Fold the square like a business letter, in a trifold. With the seam side down, gently push the sides toward the center to puff up the dough and make the oblong dough fit the length of the loaf pan. Place the dough in the pan, seam side down and gently press it into the corners of the pan.
Cover the dough in the loaf pan with a towel and let rise for another hour. If your kitchen is drafty, put in a warm place. The dough is finished rising when it has approximately doubled in size and puffs up just barely over the edge of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the dough has finished rising, sprinkle the top with extra oats. Bake for 40 minutes, turning around 180 degrees after 20 minutes to ensure even baking. The loaf is finished baking when the top crust is as dark as molasses and the bottom crust is dark brown. Thump the top of the loaf — if it sounds hollow it is done. Remove the loaf from the pan and let cool on a wire tack for a few hours.