Baking in the winter is great for two reasons. 1) the oven warms the house. 2) the activity warms your body. Ok…3) you get to eat the results!
And yeah, yeah, pies, candies, cookies, the holidays…but is there really anything more yummy, more satisfying, more…more…heavenly than eating slice after slice of your own homemade bread with a smear of butter and jam?
I have a distinct childhood memory. My cousin and I were at Grama’s for the night. Grama made this bread. We ate this bread. We ate more of this bread. I think we came close to finishing the loaf. I’m pretty sure I forgot to save room for dinner. And it’s funny how a single memory can bring back so many more. I also remember sneaking into the back bedroom to watch Michael Jackson’s Thriller video on MTV. Oh, and eating red jell-o…not exactly eating it, but swishing it between my teeth until it liquified…we were making “medicine”…ahhh, the memories! And I also remember dunking Oreo cookies in Grama’s coffee until the soggy cookies fell to the bottom, turning her brew into a cloudy, crummy mess. What a great Grama! To sacrifice her coffee!
Anyway, if you’d like a great loaf of really versatile, delicious sandwich bread, I’d recommend this one. It’s a moist loaf with a touch of sweetness and frankly, I love it!
Whole wheat-oatmeal sandwich bread adapted from great-Grama Akre’s recipe
yields one loaf
Feel free to play around with sweet aspect of this bread. I use honey, but you could also use molasses, brown rice syrup, brown sugar (in this case, add another 1/4 cup), or even barley syrup. Next time I bake, I’d also like to experiment with using bread flour rather than all-purpose. If you get to it before me please, let me know how it goes!
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) dry active yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the oats and the 2 cups boiling water. Stir to moisten, and add the salt, butter and honey. Stir again, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup lukewarm water with the yeast and white sugar. Stir to completely dissolve and add to the above, cooled, mixture.
Add the all-purpose and whole wheat flours and mix on the lowest speed until the dough begins to come together. Then turn the speed up to medium-low and knead for 10 minutes. The dough will remain a bit sticky.
Turn the dough out into a well-greased, large bowl, cover, and allow to rise until double in size (approx one hour).
Preheat the oven to 350º with the oven rack in the center-most position.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and punch down. Knead a few times, then fold the dough like a business letter (tri-fold) so that it fits into the loaf pan. Allow to rise again until the pan is full, 30-60 minutes.
If you’d like a shinier crust, you can brush the top of the loaf with a bit of milk, or milk mixed with egg before it goes in the oven. I like the very rustic look of the matte-finish, so I leave it plain.
Bake the loaf for 60-65 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 200º.
Allow to cool completely before slicing. (or as long as you can hold out!…that being said, slicing a warm/hot loaf of bread results in a gummy crumb, so it truly is best to let it cool nearly completely before slicing).