Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bread & Butter

I hosted a fellowship hour at my church this past Sunday, and decided to go with a lenten theme of 'bread & butter'. OK, I did serve jam, too. But in the process of trying to round out the bread offerings, I discovered (and modified, of course, 'cause I'm a rebel) a really great recipe for a Honey Oat Bread that comes out just so soft and wonderful, I have made it 2 more times since Sunday.


1 cup rolled oats
2 cups boiling water
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour 
1-2 tsp salt 
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup hand warm water
2 tsp dry yeast


Pour the boiling water over the oats in your mixing bowl and let that sit for half an hour to an hour. Add the yeast into the warm water and let that rest for 10 minutes or so, then add all the other ingredients and let the mixer do its thing for a while. The dough will be sticky. Add additional flour as needed, to make the dough come away from the walls of the bowl, but only 'just'. Don't make it too dry. I think it's the sweeteners that cause some of the stickiness, but it translates into softness of the bread later on. 
Let it rise, covered, for several hours. It is a bit of a reluctant riser, but don't give up hope. Patience! Always rewarded! When you finally see that doubling in volume, dust with a bit of flour, take it out of the bowl and flatten it into a long rectangle on your counter. 
Cut the rectangle into five strips that stay connected at one end. Braid the strips together, like weaving, if you wish, into one long braid. Cut the braid in half, tuck ends as needed and put into two buttered 4.5x9  loaf pans. I only have one, so I put the second loaf into a 5x10. Let that rise another time until doubled.

When the rising is almost done and I start preheating the oven, I put an egg wash on top if I feel generous about my egg situation. 

Bake at 340F (with convection, 350 otherwise) for 35 minutes or so. I keep thinking it's not done when I take it out, because it's so soft. Tap bottom to be sure it sounds sort of hollow and don't be dissuaded by the softness. That's here to stay.
My new and most wonderful bee book says the honey is so hygroscopic (which means it attracts moisture) that it makes baked goods with honey not dry out. In this bread, it seems true!

The other breads I made were my usual sourdough baguette in a multigrain version:

A plain old no-knead bread (using 1/4 cup sourdough starter in addition to the usual 1/4 tsp yeast) made with 50% whole wheat flour:

Another no-knead bread made from the same dough, but with the addition of one onion and a few cloves or garlic, chopped and caramelized in a little olive oil with some rosemary for good measure.

People seemed pretty excited for really fresh homemade bread, and thanked me profusely. Wonder when my kids will stop begging for 'bread from the store'? 

No comments:

Post a Comment