Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread
What's a nicer way to begin the day than with a warm, crunchy slice of oatmeal toast? With all the great new artisan breads out there, some of America's favorite pan breads seem to be getting short shrift. Personally, we'd no more give up our white, oatmeal and whole wheat sandwich loaves than we would our favorite baguettes or focaccia. Each has its place in our world, and there's nothing like good old American pan bread for sandwiches and toast. We've found that many of the recipes we try for oatmeal bread just don't taste much like oatmeal. Either the flavor is so faint as to be indiscernible, or it's overwhelmed by molasses. That isn't the case here; the nutty taste of oats shines through, with just a hint of molasses to augment the grain's natural sweetness.
- 1 cup + 6 tablespoons boiling water
- 1 cup thick oat flakes (rolled oats)
- 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup non-instant nonfat dry milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup molasses or dark corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon granular lecithin*
- 1 tablespoon Lora Brody Bread Dough Enhancer
- *While neither of these is strictly necessary, the lecithin will give you a moister, longer-lasting loaf; and the bread dough enhancer will give you a higher-rising loaf, with a better texture.
Manual/Mixer Method: In a large mixing bowl, combine the boiling water and oats, mixing to combine. Allow this mixture to cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients, mixing till the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough with an electric mixer for 2 minutes; allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading it for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until it's smooth. If you're kneading by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface; knead it for 3 minutes; allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading till smooth, an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it'll be puffy, if not doubled in bulk.
Bread Machine Method: Place the boiling water and oats into the pan of your bread machine, and gently mix them together by hand, using a spatula. Allow the mixture to cool till lukewarm, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, adjust the consistency of the dough with additional flour or water; it should be smooth, though still a bit sticky. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and gently shape it into a loaf. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pan, cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a dough-rising cover, and allow the bread to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it's crowned 1 to 1 1/2 inches over the rim of the pan.
Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 35 minutes, or until the center registers 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Check the bread about 10 minutes before the end of its baking time; if it appears to be browning too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. Remove the bread from the oven, transfer it from the pan to a wire rack, and brush the crust with butter (or spray it with Vegalene or butter-flavored pan spray), if you like; this will help keep the crust soft.