Oatmeal Sandwich Bread slightly adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce Yield 1 large loaf Butter for the bowl and the pan (I use vegan Earth Balance in mine with excellent results) 1 package active dry yeast 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup 2 cups white whole wheat flour 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup barley flour 1 cup rolled oats 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (I've used vegan Earth Balance in mine with excellent results—no need to adjust salt either), melted and cooled slightly 1 tablespoon kosher salt Lightly butter a large bowl and a 9 x 5 x 3-inch bread loaf pan. Add 2 cups of warm water, yeast, and maple syrup to the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir, allowing the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes, until it begins to bubble. (If it doesn't bubble, it probably means your yeast is inactive; so throw it out and start over). To autolyse, measure the flours, oats, and butter into the bowl with the yeast mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon. Cover with a towel and let stand for 30 minutes. Attach the bowl and the bread hook to the mixer, add the salt, and mix on medium speed for 6 minutes. The dough should slap around the sides without sticking to them. If the dough is sticking at any time during the mixing, add a tablespoon or two of bread flour until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and supple, slightly tacky, with a beautiful sheeting effect. For the first rise, scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it a few times. Put the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it a few times. Put the dough into the buttered bowl, cover with a towel, and leave it to rise for about 1 hour, or until it is doubled in size. (To find out if the dough has risen enough: gently push a floured finger into the dough. If it springs back, the dough needs to rise longer. If a dimple or indentation remains, move on to the next step). To shape the dough, scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Press down on the dough, working it toward a square shape while depressing all of the bubbles. Fold the dough down from the top to the middle, then up from the bottom to the middle. Next bring the newly formed top and bottom edges together and pinch the seam in the middle, sealing the seam with your fingers. Pinch the sides together and roll the shaped dough back and forth, plumping it so that it's evenly formed and about the size of your loaf pan. Place the dough in the pan with the seam side down and press it gently into the corners of the pan. For the second rise, cover the dough with a towel and let it rest in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough rises to half again its size or puffs up barely or just over the edge of the pan. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400F. When the dough has finished its final rise, sprinkle the top of the loaf with oats or bran, if desired. Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The loaf is ready when the top and bottom crust are golden brown. To see if the bread is ready, give the top of the loaf a thump to see if it sounds hollow. If the hollow sound isn't there and the bread is too pale, bake for anther 5 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack, preferably for a few hours, so that the crumb doesn't collapse when you cut into it and the flavor can develop.
It's high time we talk about bread. Soft pillow-like sandwich bread made with rolled oats and a wheat and barley flour mix. It's a hearty bread without being flat and dense—the very kind of bread I've been at work on behind the scenes here. Sourdough usually stars in my bread recipes, and eventually I'll adapt this one to fit my habit of cultivating bacteria and yeast. Until then, I'll continue using this recipe one as our weekly staple of homemade bread. Buttered toast frequently appears on our kitchen table on any given day, and for the last month, this oatmeal bread has been the centerpiece. The original recipe can be found along with a number of my favorite whole grain treats in Kim Boyce's book Good to the Grain. To make a slightly less intense wheat flavored bread, I swapped it out for white whole wheat and a smidge of barley flour. For the molasses I used maple syrup instead. That should do it for the "Fastest yeast in the East" style bread—which comes true when you're doing any number of kitchen chores and you accidentally leave the dough on the hot stove during the second rise. p.s. I don't recommend this if you want a good lookin' shapely bread. Also, for a bit of other news—I was recently featured on Gourmet Live as Food Blogger of the Week. If you'd like to read the interview, it's over here. Thanks again, Brie! This bread is great for stuffed french toast (more on this soon!), sandwiches, and butter and honey toast. What keeps the bread pillow-like and moist is a technique called autolyse (see photos above), in which all the ingredients except for the salt are mixed together and then allowed to rest before kneading. Boyce suggest using a stand mixer to do most of hands on work for this bread and I agree. The ingredients comes together easily in a stand mixer and aside from the time the dough needs to rest, there's only shaping required. The recipe is both super low maintenance bread (despite the lengthy steps) and kid-friendly.