Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oatmeal Maple-Honey Bread

This loaf is dedicated to Nell, who loves oatmeal bread.
And to Andy, who cooks oatmeal every morning without measuring.

I read a recipe for Oat Bread in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and a recipe for Vermont Oatmeal Maple-Honey Bread in The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. This recipe is a fusion of the two. Partially because I discovered we were low on both honey and maple syrup (the main sweeteners in either-or) and partially because I am a crazy cook and tend to (read as "love to") wing it. The results are always mind-blowing... sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a not-so-good way. It's a risk I am willing to take.

What you need:
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup wheat bran
1 1/4 cups bread flour
Additional oats, wheat bran, and a pinch of sugar for a textured and beautiful top crust.

I used exactly those ingredients, but here are some optional swaps--
instead of 1 cup of warm milk use 1 cup of warm water
instead of 2 tablespoons of canola oil use 2 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter
instead of 1 1/4 cups bread flour use 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

What you do:
  1. Start by proofing the yeast. Use the 1/4 cup warm water, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and yeast (obviously).
  2. While the yeast proofs (10 minutes/until it is bubbling), combine the milk, honey, maple syrup, canola oil, and salt. Whisk together.
  3. Slowly add the wheat flour, oats, and wheat bran. Mix.
  4. Slowly add the bread flour, reserving 1/4 cup for kneading.
  5. Knead for 5 minutes. Adding the full amount of bread flour is based on your judgement. Add as much as the dough will hold and still be a bit tacky.
  6. Let the dough rise, covered for 1 hour or until doubled.
  7. Shape the loaf and roll it into that oat, wheat bran, sugar mixture you had set aside for the top crust. The amount you add is up to you. How rustic do you like it?
  8. Put it in a loaf pan, cover, and let it rise again 1 hour or until doubled.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375° in the last 15/20 minutes of this second rise.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until the bread pulls slightly away from the sides of the pan.
Eat to your health! Oatmeal bread seemed like a great follow-up bread for the Cinnamon Raisin Loaf because oats are a superfood. The smiling, white-haired Quaker man on the label of Quaker Oats promises a healthy heart and reduced cholesterol. I don't know if I totally trust him because what is his hair tucked into? His ears? How do you get a fold of hair like that when you aren't playing Martha Washington in a body of water?? From a source with a better hairstyle, research shows (according to David Grotto's book 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life!) oats can help aid weight management as part of a nutritious, fiber-rich diet and oats+other whole grain intake can even help prevent type 2 diabetes. Plus, oats are soothing for almost any digestive ailment and externally, for itching/eczema (Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form suggesting you ever rub this bread on a mosquito bite).

This is superbread. Bake it and eat it in good health.

- Sarah

P.S. Here is what "cow face" kneading looks like.. I was trying to explain it in the whole wheat post. It even has a mouth (unintentional)!


  1. Sarah - I really checked out the Quaker Oats guy - you're right - that hair! I had hair flipped like that in 1961 - it took lots of hairspray, rollers and teasing. Come on up and!
    Love Angie

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