Honey Oatmeal Bread
When making bread at home, I’ve found that a happy medium between machine mixing and hand mixing works for me. I usually let the machine incorporate the ingredients into one homogeneous dough, because I find that step to be too tedious with a spoon and too messy if I use my hands. But once the dough has just come together, I turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it by hand. That’s the only way I know if my dough is properly hydrated and fully developed. There’s also a certain satisfaction that you can only get by kneading your dough by hand.
This honey oatmeal bread is one of my old standbys. The generous amount of honey moistens the dough and makes the bread sweet enough to eat as-is. It also toasts particularly well, which is great whether you’re having breakfast or toasting some bread for a sandwich.
As an added bonus, you can certainly sneak some whole grains in there. Rather than just oatmeal, I spiked this last batch with oats, wheat berries, rye, and barley–and it tasted just as sweet and wonderful as always. Whatever grains you choose to use, you have to pour boiling water over them to rehydrate them. Just make sure you let the soaking grains cool down to 90 – 100º before incorporating the remaining ingredients; otherwise you’ll kill all of the yeast before you even start!
I’ve had great success with this bread as loaves, round loaves, and even individual rolls. Regardless of the shape you choose, this bread will bake up with a wonderful, fluffy interior.
And the egg-washed exterior is just icing on the cake.
Honey Oatmeal Bread
1 c. lukewarm water
1 1/4 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 c. boiling water
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 c. honey
1 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
7 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1. In a small bowl, add 1 c. of warm tap water to the yeast. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the boiling water, oil, honey, salt, and oats. Mix well and allow to cool until warm to the touch. (It should be 100-105º max–you don’t want to kill all of your yeast!)
3. Add the yeast mixture to the oat mixture; combine well.
4. Add 3 c. of the flour and stir well.
5. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a manageable dough. Knead the dough, which will be difficult at first, until it is smooth and elastic (about 10-12 minutes). Place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 60-90 minutes).
6. Punch the dough down and form into desired shape, placing in a greased loaf pan or on a greased parchment-lined sheet pan for round loaves. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in bulk (45-60 minutes). While dough is rising again, preheat the oven to 350º.
7. Make the egg wash: in a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork or whisk. Just before baking, brush the dough with the egg wash.
8. Bake the bread for about 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bread makes a hollow sound when tapped.