I feel like I am always in search of a good bread recipe.
I probably should never bake, because I am terrible at measuring things exactly and often have little patience for cooling times or candy temperatures. Not to mention the rising of yeast breads. But I do bake.
A nice loaf of bread is expensive. And when the family’s having sandwiches and toast daily, it adds up. So I try and make my own.
For a few years, I had my mom’s old breadmaker. It was great because there was no waiting involved. Input ingredients. Turn on. Output bread. The beautiful lack of effort even made me overlook the weird, cylinder-shaped bread. But a few summers ago, the bread machine died (a moment of silence please). Dead may not even be the right word. It went wrong, but it was like it was so good it was bad. The breadmaker would mix the dough ingredients and then heat up to bake the bread. It would heat and heat and heat and the mechanism inside that told the breadmaker that it was hot enough broke. In the end you had this weird ball of bread that was hard and charred on the outside and a sticky gooey mess on the inside. And the house would smell. Like if you walked in the house with your eyes closed, you would think the kitchen had burned to a pile of ashes.
So, I am learning to make bread on my own, with just my trusty stand mixer.
I have made this recipe twice now in the last week. The loaf is huge. The bread is soft and smooth and not at all dry. And, start to finish it only takes about four hours, with minimal hands-on time. Really, I promise. Try it.
adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
- 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup boiling water
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp active dried yeast (same as one packet)
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 T. distilled vinegar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 t. agave nectar or honey (for topping)
- 1/4 cup rolled oats (for topping)
- Place 1 1/4 cup oats in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Mix and let sit for 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Place ¼ cup of warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Mix with a whisk to dissolve yeast. Let rest for 5 minutes.
- Mix milk and vinegar in another bowl. Let sit 5 minutes.
- Add soaked oats, milk mixture, canola oil, brown sugar, both flours, and salt to yeast.
- Using the hook attachment, mix on low speed for 1 or 2 minutes to combine ingredients.
- Increase speed to medium and mix for about 10 minutes. Dough will be wet at first, but will eventually from a ball.
- Place dough in an oiled, medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Proof in a warm room, about 80*F (I put it in the garage!), for about an hour. Dough will almost double in size.
- Pull dough from bowl onto a floured surface and flatten it with your hands, releasing excess air bubbles. Form dough into a 12 x 6-inch rectangle and position it so that a long side is facing you. Fold the 2 short ends onto the top so they meet in the middle. Starting with the closest end, roll dough away from you into a log. Let loaf rest on its seam for a few minutes.
- Transfer dough to an oiled 9 x 5 x 4-inch loaf pan, seam side down. Using your hands, push down on the dough to make sure it extends to all corners of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm room for another hour. Loaf will rise above the top of the pan.
- While loaf is proofing, preheat oven to 385F.
- Remove plastic wrap and spread honey or agave nectar over top of loaf. Sprinkle with remaining oats.
- Place pan on center rack of oven an bake for approximately 1 hour (check after 30 minutes, if top of loaf is already getting golden brown, cover top of loaf with aluminum foil. Top and sides of finished loaf will be deep golden brown.
- Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the sides of the loaf to release from the pan. Invert to remove loaf.