Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whole Wheat Oat Bread

Whole Wheat Oat Bread


2 cups low-fat milk
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, plus more for topping
1/2 cup warm water (105-115° F)
2 tablespoons active dry yeast (about three packages)
1/2 cup mild honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing
3 cups whole-wheat flour
About 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water


1.  Heat milk in a small saucepan over low heat until hot but not boiling.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the oats. Let stand, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooled to warm.

2.  In a small bowl, stir together the water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of honey.  Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  (If the mixture doesn’t foam, you’ll have to discard it and start over with new yeast.)  Stir the yeast mixture, melted butter, and remaining honey into the cooled oatmeal.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the whole-wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, and salt. Add the oat mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.  Turn out onto the wet dough onto a well-floured surface.  Knead the dough, with floured hands, until the dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes (the dough will be slightly sticky).  While you’re kneading, add just enough unbleached flour to keep the dough from sticking to your surface.

4.  Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a large, oiled mixing bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.  Let the dough rise at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes.

5.  Lightly butter two loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a loaf.  Place each loaf in a buttered pan, seam side down, tucking ends gently to fit. Cover the loaf pans loosely with a kitchen towel, and let the dough rise at a warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes.

6.  Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly brush the tops of each loaf with some of the egg wash and sprinkle with oats.  Bake the loaves until they are golden and they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 30 to 35 minutes.  (Remove 1 loaf from pan to test for doneness. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen.)

7.  Remove the bread from the pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 60 minutes.  Slice and serve!  (I’ve found the loaves are easiest to slice when turned on their sides).

YIELD: Makes 2 loaves
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