One of my culinary goals this year is to make more homemade bread. It's not always easy to set aside time for bread making and baking, but it's definitely very rewarding when you end up with that warm steamy loaf and the fragrance of freshly baked bread filling your home.
I didn't plan to make oatmeal bread, but when I recently bought a bag of King Arthur bread flour so I could make raised sugar doughnuts, I noticed a recipe for oatmeal bread on the back of the bag. My pantry is always full of oats, and I coincidentally had a ton of currants leftover after making the Zuni Cafe roast chicken with bread salad, so it seemed like the right bread to tackle first.
Oatmeal Bread (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup currants
Dissolve active dry yeast in the lukewarm milk.
In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with dough hook, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough. Knead dough by machine until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log.
Place the log in a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.
Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it reaches 1 to 2 inches over the rim of the pan.
Preheat oven to 350°F, and bake bread in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. (If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking.)
I was so happy with the results of this recipe. The bread easily and cleanly released from the pan! I placed the hot loaf on a rack to cool slightly. It's easier to cut it when it's cool, but I wanted to try a piece while it was still a little warm.
I sliced the slightly cooled bread and inspected the slices. It had baked up perfectly! I really liked using a thermometer to check whether the bread was finished baking; it removed any guesswork.
I ate one slice right away with some butter and then put the rest in the freezer. Now, whenever I'm craving homemade oatmeal bread, I just pop a slice in the toaster oven and slather it with a bit of butter. It's so much better than anything I could buy at the grocery store.
Baking the bread wasn't even as time-consuming as I had feared it would be. While you do need to be home for a while in order to execute this recipe, it's not a constant hands-on thing. You can start the bread and do other things while it's rising.
Yeast breads have always scared me a bit -- I sort of feel like I'm setting myself up for failure -- but now that I've tackled this one, I'm definitely looking forward to making some other kinds.
Do you bake bread at home? What's your favorite kind to make?
Labels: Breads rolls doughs