Thursday, April 9, 2015

Honey Oatmeal Bread

*** UPDATED ***

So, I was a little over zealous in sharing this win with you. It was so good fresh out of the oven.  A little dense, but yummy for sandwiches the next day.  But today... oh, boy.  It's turned in to a brick.  A beautiful brick, but a brick nonetheless.  *sigh*  I think it's because it uses butter instead of oil.  

I'm very sorry if any of you ran out there and whipped this up, only to be disappointed that I'd lead you astray on this one.  I'm feeling rather sad myself, really hoping I'd accomplished this rare feat - lovely, yummy, home made bread.  So... the search continues.  I will keep you posted, and please share with me in comments if you have a tried and true recipe I should give a whirl.   For now, I'm going to scratch this one off my list.  


I have a confession to make.  I am working to overcome my fear of making yeast bread.  It's an irrational fear, considering that when I was a teenager I won medals at the county level with my challah bread... but, you know, that was years ago. And my memory? Not so hot.

As adventurous as I usually am in the kitchen, it seems a little embarrassing.

I'm also trying to downsize our "stuff", so, as Alton Brown would put it "single taskers need not apply".  I LOVE my KitchenAid stand mixer.  It is red.  I love red.  It is a gift from my in-laws.  I love my in-laws.  I usually make things like mashed potatoes or marshmallows in it (or cookie dough, or frosting...)  But a while back, while coaching me through cinnamon rolls, Aunt Mel showed me how to use the dough hook and a light bulb went on.  Breadmaker, shbreadmaker - I have a KitchenAid!

I am now also... drum roll please... a stay at home mom.  Really.  And it's amazing.  A little scary too, but amazing.  It's where God has put me. Knowing that, I am doing my very best to rest in Him and embrace my new role.  So today, when we used the last slice of bread, I thought "Tracy, why can't you just make bread".

WHAAA???  Crazy talk.  Good crazy.

Yeah, so a couple minutes on Google, a half dozen recipes critiqued, and one conglomerate emerged.  My bread.  Crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, with honey and oats.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Honey Oatmeal Bread
Makes 2 loaves.

Preheat oven to 350F, grease 2 standard loaf pans.
(I have one glass and one non-stick and they both worked great.)

1-1/2 c water
1/2 c honey
1/2 c unsalted butter (if using salted butter adjust salt)

5 to 6 c all purpose flour
1 c quick cooking oats
3 tsp salt (reduce to 2 if using salted butter)
2 T dry active yeast or (2) 1/4oz packets

3 eggs, one separated

1 T water
oatmeal to sprinkle on top

In small saucepan, combine water, honey and butter - bring to 120F (this is the right temp to feed your yeast).  While this is warming, combine dry ingredients in stand mixer bowl.

Mix on speed 2 while gradually adding warm wet ingredients.  Next add 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk (reserve white to brush the top).

Continue on speed 2 while adding remaining flour, 1/3 cup at a time, until the dough clings to hook and sides of the bowl are clean.  The amount of flour can vary depending on many things, I ended up using a total 6 cups.  Knead 2 minutes.

Put dough in greased bowl to rise.  I sprayed olive oil in a large glass bowl (about the same size as my stand mixer bowl) and put the dough in, then turned it over so the top and bottom got some oil on them.  Drape a clean kitchen towel over the bowl, and set it somewhere warm and dark.  I put it on the counter next to the fridge.  The motor from the fridge creates a warm draft on one side, so I took advantage of that.  Set your kitchen timer for 1 hour and walk away.

Flour a small patch of counter top.  Pour the dough out, push it around a little (get bossy) and pinch in the middle to make two loaves.  Shape them a little and put any rough edges on the bottom of your loaf.  Place in greased loaf pans and drape with clean kitchen towel.  Set aside for 20 minutes or so.  This is your second rise.  They'll rise more as they cook too.

Add 1 T water to reserved egg white and brush on to tops of loaves.  Sprinkle with oats (Cora got to help with this step).  Bake for 40 minutes at 350F.  Remove from oven and turn out onto cooling rack.  I immediately cut the heel off one, poured some milk, and Cora and I quite enjoyed ourselves.

I hope you'll try this in your home.  Turns out, baking bread isn't all that scary!!  

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