Wednesday, December 1, 2010

198. Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread, Carrie K's recipe

Some food fragrances are so wonderful and comforting that people often use them to help sell a home. Baking bread  probably tops the list of those aromas. It suggests a mother's love, homey togetherness and family.

I love to bake bread in the fall and winter months. The warm oven not only adds a measure of heat to the colder corners of the house, but the fragrance is heavenly. Freshly baked bread  is wonderful with soup, savory spaghetti, a great stew or simply spread with butter and eaten by itself.

Many people, however, shy away from making bread. My mother was one of was too labor-intensive for her style of cooking...all that measuring, mixing, kneading, raising, more kneading and raising; and, sometimes after all that work, the loaf was less than great. I am sure this added to Mother's lack of baking enthusiasm.

A good recipe, a bread machine, quality ingredients and a desire to bake bread, however, can eliminate most, if not all the reasons to not bake bread.

Today's recipe makes two small,  lovely loaves or one regular-sized loaf. The recipe was given to me by a friend who also gave me a loaf to try out, (pictured below). I loved the flavor and texture. Wheat bread is not my favorite and the addition of oats and honey in this recipe help to tone down the intense wheat flavor inherent in most loaves of wheat bread. (Recipe is for hand-mixing; bread machine suggestion below).

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

1 1/4 C low fat milk                                               1 1/2 C bread flour
2 T honey                                                              1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
2 T butter or margarine, softened                            1/3 C quick-cooking oats
2 tsp salt                                                                4 tsp yeast

* Heat milk to 80-90 degrees. Add honey, butter and yeast. Stir until yest is dissolved. Add one cup of bread flour to make a sponge. Let ingredients double in size. Add remaining flour, salt and oats (you may pulverize oats first for a more tender texture).

Knead dough until all flour has been has been worked into the dough. Grease hands and divide dough into two small bread pans or one regular-sized bread pan. Let loaves rise in a warm place until double or about an hour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (small loaves) or 25-30 minutes (large loaf). When bread is finished baking, slip loaves from pans and allow to cool on rack. Brush top of warm loaf with butter if desired.

*If bread machine is used for mixing, follow manufacturer's directions.

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