I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge store bought bread sort of a person. I prefer my carbs in junk food form, preferably with a label that says “Ben & Jerry” or “Brachs Juicy Berries Gummi Candy” (yes, I’m still addicted to those.) I DO however, love artisan breads, good bakery breads or homemade breads. In a nutshell? I’m a bread snob. Well, confession time, unless I’m having Chicago public school flashbacks and craving a ham sandwich on mushy store bought white bread spread with butter. Don’t judge.
So, all of that said, I rarely have the budget for the good artisan breads that a lot of grocery stores carry now and I don’t live near a bakery. So if I want good bread, I have to make it myself. I’ve been baking bread long enough now that I am able to play with recipes without ending up with a disaster so that’s what I did here. I took a recipe I’ve had for years for oatmeal bread/rolls and mixed it up a bit. The results were completely awesome! This bread tastes great, not as strongly flavored as whole wheat would be but not as bland as white bread. It has a mild nutty flavor from the oats and the wheat flour. And the texture is out of this world. It is soft, ALMOST but not quite as soft as store bought which will please the mushy bread addicts lol. Yet it has a nice chewy bite to it and a density to please those of us who like breads with more character. Another plus is that the wheat gluten keeps it fresh longer plus adds a bit to the texture. I have it listed as optional but you really really need to buy some. It’s inexpensive and worth getting.
You know the drill. 🙂
Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread
- 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oatmeal plus extra for sprinkling on the loaves
- 2 tablespoons Vital Wheat Gluten, optional but highly recommended (you can find it in the flour aisle, usually on the top shelf. It contributes a LOT to bread texture and freshness so please buy some.)
- 2 packs dry yeast (I use the Red Star Platinum yeast)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups milk, warmed to between 115 and 120 degrees (NO hotter)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup honey plus more for brushing on top of loaves
- sea salt for sprinkling on top
- Lightly grease two 9 inch loaf pans and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the wheat flour, 4 1/2 cups of the bread flour, oatmeal, yeast and salt. Mix well on low speed.
- Combine the milk and butter in a measuring cup. Stir to melt the butter, then add in the warm water and the honey. Pour this over the flour mixture, and using the dough hook, mix on low speed until it all comes together as a dough. Knead for about 2 to 3 minutes on low. If the dough is still more than just a LITTLE bit sticky and tacky, add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Machine knead after each addition for a minute or so, then check stickiness again. You want a nice firm but not dry dough. Your finger should just barely stick to it and it should have a sheen rather like what a semi gloss paint looks like when dry.
- Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl, turning it once to make sure all sides get the oil on them. Cover with a clean towel and put somewhere warm to rise. I usually turn my oven to it’s lowest setting, then turn it off after about 2 minutes of preheating. That leaves it a nice warm 80 degrees or so which is a perfect rising temp. Let it rise until it is doubled in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes.
- When it’s doubled, punch it down (that’s always the fun part hehe) and divide it into two equal pieces. Start your oven preheating to 350 degrees. Now you can go one of two ways.
- First way to shape your dough is free hand- just…well, shape it into a dough shape. Not hard and the pro of it is it leaves you with less seams to pinch shut. it’s usually how I shape my loaves. Con is it takes some time to learn to free hand shape and not have a misshapen loaf.
- Two is to roll or pat the dough out into about a 9 inch rectangle and then roll it up tightly and pinch shut the seams with a damp finger. Pro to that is a prettier loaf (unless you miss a seam like I did on the one loaf in the photo…oops), con is if you don’t roll tightly enough, you end up with a loaf that has a hole running through the middle.
- Either way you go, shape the dough into two loaves and place in the prepared pans.
- Warm up about 1/4 cup of honey until it’s liquidy. Brush it evenly over the two loaves. Sprinkle with some extra oats and then with some coarse grained (I use kosher, same kind you see on pretzels) salt. Let the bread rise again in a warm place (NOT in the preheating oven lol) for 30 minutes or until it is almost doubled in bulk
- Bake at 350 degrees until the bread is golden brown and crusty looking, about 45 to 55 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan for five minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling, though we all know half a loaf, at least, won’t make it to cooled before it gets eaten hehe.
- When cooled, what doesn’t get eaten can be stored in ziploc bags for a few days. I made mine 4 days ago and it’s still wonderfully soft and fresh. THAT is why you need to buy the vital wheat gluten. Trust me on this.
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