The smell of freshly baked bread drifting out of the kitchen makes the whole dedication to making it on weekly basis completely worth it.
I no longer live in a house that owns a Kitchen Aid and so I often drag my feet when I realize we are almost out of bread in the freezer. But when it has just come out of the oven that it is still warm it melts the butter, oh man, sign me up for that.
I feel more proud of this bread than I probably should. This oatmeal bread recipe has been a staple in my life ever since I was a little kid. My mom did not make bread too often but when she did one of the recipes she would use was this oatmeal bread one from The More With Less Cookbook. (If you come from a traditional German and/or Russian Mennonite background, then you probably know to what I am referring). My clearest memory of this bread is of it sitting on a wooden cutting board in the middle of our kitchen table during supper time. It was always the best treat.
Actually, this oatmeal bread recipe was probably one of the first yeast breads I tried making by myself, if not the first. I remember making it with Katie and Lauren, two girls I would occasionally babysit when I was probably in high school or maybe even middle school. But true to typical novice bakers, this recipe turned out pretty dense. Unfortunately, that's how I remembered it until recently.
A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to make all my bread from scratch. The trick here though was that in order to qualify as successful bread, it had to pass the "sandwich test," meaning it could not be too thick and dense that it wouldn't work for sandwiches. So I started with this Amish White Bread recipe that has never let me down. (So much so that I have barely ventured to try other recipes). Since I remembered the oatmeal bread being dense when I made it, I never gave it a second thought. That is, until my co-worker Tina mentioned that she had just made it and no, it was not dense at all.
Well, that got me thinking. Maybe I just sucked at making bread back then.
Turns out, that was true. The bread yesterday turned out light on in the inside and a little crusty on the outside. Perfect. I didn't make a sandwich out of it, but I am completely convinced it would be just fine. Also, I am not sure the bread will make it that long to find out. It makes unbelievably good toast.
Happy Bread Baking!
Combine in a large bowl:
1 c oats
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1 T salt
2 T butter
2 cups boiling water
Stir in to combine.
In a separate bowl, dissolve:
1 T yeast
1/2 c warm water
When oat batter has cooled to lukewarm, add yeast mix.
5 c white flour (adding one at a time)
When dough is stiff enough to handle, turn onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased 9x5x3 pans (or whatever bread pans you have). Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Cook on rack, brushing loaves with butter for a soft crust.