Oatmeal-Whole Wheat Harvest Bread

Oatmeal-Whole Wheat Harvest Bread, adapted from Sur la Table’s The Art and Soul of Baking

For years I have been a self-proclaimed dumbass when it comes to yeast breads.  I have had several failed experiments due to yeast’s fickle nature.  And since I have a bread machine that can produce decent results, why bother making it by hand?

I decided to try a bread recipe for the first time in several years, and I finally achieved success.  True, I used a stand mixer to do all the kneading, but I think that made the difference in getting the recipe to work, for me.  And let me tell you – it is SO MUCH BETTER than from a machine.  I was so pumped by the results and encouraged to try more, I went out and bought a big jar of yeast after making this – hopefully you will see more yeast breads in this space soon.

The recipe I adapted originally calls for nine-grain cereal mix, but I substituted rolled oats with great results.  I also sprinkled the boule with additional oats before baking, to make it pretty. 

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup warm water plus 2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup honey
2 3/4 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Make the oatmeal mix: Pour the oats into a medium bowl. Add the boiling water and stir to blend. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight (bring the mixture to room temperature before continuing).

2. Make the dough: Pour the warm water into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the sugar and yeast and whisk by hand to blend. Let sit for 10 minutes, or until the yeast is activated and foamy or bubbling. Add the cooled cereal, honey, bread four, whole wheat flour, and salt. Knead the dough on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes to allow it to fully hydrate before further kneading. Turn the mixer to medium-low and continue to knead until the dough is firm and elastic, 4 to 7 minutes.

3. Lightly oil a bowl, scrape the dough into the bowl and lightly cost the surface of the dough with a little oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 35 to 45 minutes.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Press down on the dough firmly to expel some of the air bubbles, but don’t knead the dough again or it will be too springy and difficult to shape. Shape into a round, taut loaf and transfer the loaf to the center of a parchment lined baking pan.

5. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a cotton towel and let rise until almost doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

7. Dust the top lightly with flour–don’t go crazy here or you’ll have a mouthful of flour. Slash a pattern in the top of the dough with a chef’s knife. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and the internal temperature registers 190 degrees. Transfer to a rack and cool completely. Slice the bread with a serrated knife.


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