It’s a bit of a miracle that my second two attempts at bread baking have resulted in anything edible, considering how incapable I am at following a recipe. This week’s bread resulted from a sloppy spontaneous mishmash of two recipes after I accidentally dumped in about ten times as much yeast as necessary to make pita bread. Stephanie’s “Wheat Oatmeal Bread” and Lauren’s “Honey Oat Bread” seemed closest in proportion to the water and yeast already languishing in the bowl, and so I used them as an approximate guide to produce two decent loaves of bread. While I wasn’t moved to rhapsody about the taste or texture, I was surprised that it was practically indistinguishable from most whole-grain sandwich bread from the store.
That’s precisely what I’m trying to get away from, but everyone else seems to be a big fan of this bread for toast and sandwiches. If you’re looking for a simple, slightly sweet, fluffy whole-grain sandwich bread, this might be just what you’re looking. I expect to come back and play with this recipe some more in a few weeks. But first, let’s see if I can finally pull off pita bread!
Oatmeal Molasses Sandwich Bread
2 cups warm water — I used 2 1/2
1 package (0.7 oz) dry active yeast — I used 1 1/2
1 tbsp. honey
1-3 tbsp. molasses — I found 3 tbsp. rather strong
3-5 cups whole wheat flour — I started with 3, but ended up working in at least 2 more
2 cups white flour
1 cup oats
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon salt
Dissolve yeast, honey, and molasses in warm water and let proof about 10-15 minutes, until frothy. Meanwhile, sift together flour, oats, and salt. Melt butter and add it to the yeast mixture, then gradually combine the liquid and dry ingredients and knead dough for about 10-15 minutes to form a stiff, soft dough. Work in additional flour as necessary until the dough holds together in a ball and doesn’t stick much to the bowl or your hands.
Place dough into a greased bowl, coating the outside in oil, and let rise, covered, in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Divide the dough in half and shape into loaves in greased pans, seam side down. Let the loaves rise again for another 45 minutes or so, until doubled again and peaking above the pans.
Preheat oven to 375ºF (or 400ºF, which would likely result in a firmer texture and crust). Bake 35-40 minutes, until crust is dark and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let them cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then remove to wire racks. The sides of the loaf may be soft and slightly damp, but will dry out as they cool. All this will sort itself out once they are stored in a plastic bag, don’t worry! Happy slicing!