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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday Recipe - Oatmeal Bread

I've been cooking from scratch a lot lately, for several reasons. One, I have plenty of time on my hands most weeks. Two, I control all the ingredients. Three, it's cheaper. Four, it tastes better.

Here's my recipe for a healthy bread. It's very forgiving. Feel free to experiment with other grains or ingredients, just keep the ratio of wet to dry about the same and you should be good.

Oatmeal Bread

2 c. very warm water
2 t. yeast, or one packet or whatever the equivalent is (I buy mine in the big bulk package and keep it in the freezer until it's opened, then in a container in the fridge)
2 T. sugar or honey or molasses or something sweet
1/2 c. plain yogurt or 1/3 c. powdered milk (skip if you're allergic to milk, or use 1 egg instead)
2 t. salt
1 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
2 c. white flour
3 - 4 c. whole wheat flour

Mix water, yeast, sugar, and yogurt in a mixing bowl. Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes, until the yeast is dissolved and starts to bubble. Add the salt, oatmeal, white flour, and 2 c. of the whole wheat flour. Mix into a soft dough, adding more whole wheat flour as needed. Dough should be slightly sticky. Knead until smooth and elastic, at least 5 minutes. Cover and let rise for 1 - 2 hours, until double in size.

Punch down. Knead for another minute or so to smooth out. Divide in half. Shape each half into a smooth roll. Lightly spray two loaf pans - I use the 8x4 inch size, which makes a good size loaf. (Here's a great post I just discovered about choosing loaf pans. I'm headed back over to that blog soon to check out more posts.) Place the dough in the two pans, cover and let rise for about 30 - 45 minutes.

Pre-heat your oven to 375°F. Bake the two loaves for about 25 minutes. They should be lightly browned and sound mostly hollow when you tap the top. Because of the oatmeal, this bread will be a lot more moist than white bread. Remove the bread to a rack to cool.