What do you get when you have two forty-(mumble-mumble) year-old women who like to cook, one who knows how to make bread and one who wants to learn?  I call it a weekly bake-&-b*tch session.  Every week, we make a new recipe, doing things like focaccia, sandwich bread, and quick breads.  The nice thing about baking bread is that it’s one of those things that time.  We make the dough, then we have time to take our dogs for a walk while it’s going through its first rise, come back in time to punch it down, then make a cup of coffee and have a chat during the second rise.

All-in-all, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon! 

Anyway, this week’s recipe is one I haven’t made in years – I actually forgot how lovely it is.  It’s one of those loaves that you want to cut into the minute you pull it out of the oven then slather it with a lightly salted butter.  Try to restrain yourself to let it cool at least a little while … otherwise, you’ll eat the whole loaf before you know it.  And, since my friend asked, I’ll give you the recipe in mass rather than weight measures.

Oatmeal Honey Wheat Bread

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup bottled water heated to body temperature
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups bottled water, heated to boiling point
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour
  • 2 cups white bread flour (plus more to mix)

In a small bowl, prove the yeast by pouring the 1/4 cup of water over the yeast and stirring in the 1/4 tsp sugar and let it sit 10 minutes until it’s foamy.  While the yeast is doing its thing, put the butter, oats, honey and salt in a large bowl and pour over the 2 cups boiling water, stirring to cook and melt the butter.  Add the wheat flour and stir to incorporate then add one cup of the white flour, stirring well.  Mix in the proved yeast, then stir in a half cup of the remaining white flour.  Start kneading by hand to get a feel for how much more flour you might need in the dough.  Tip everything out onto the counter and start to work the dough by hand.  Continue adding flour 1/4 cup at a time until it has a good body but don’t add so much that it feels dry – it should still be slightly tacky to the touch, being sure to knead for at least 10-15 minutes. 

Place the dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap, letting it rise for an hour until doubled.  Punch the dough down and divide it in half, shaping each half into a loaf by tucking the sides into the underside of the loaf, rotating and tucking down the sides, rotating and tucking down the sides, until the top is smooth.  Place each loaf into a loaf tin (buttered or lined with parchment paper if it isn’t non-stick).  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 45 minutes.  When there’s 15 minutes left of rising time, preheat the oven to 375F so that it’s at temperature for a good 10 mintues before you bake the loaves.  When you’re about to put the bread into the oven, slash the top lengthwise with a bread knife then bake for 35-40 minutes.  Let the loaves cool in the loaf tins 10 minutes before letting them finish cooling on a wire rack.

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