Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Baking bread: Whole Wheat and Oat
I love homemade bread. Back in the day, I used my bread machine A LOT. My bread machine has since gone to the big appliance graveyard. Burned out the motor finally. The great thing about making bread is you don't need a bread machine. Does make the process a no-brainer, but anyone with a sturdy stand mixer can make bread. If you want to build burly arms, you can even knead it by hand. I'll stick to my stand mixer for this chore, thank you.
This is a 100% whole grain recipe: white whole wheat and rolled oats. Lots of fiber and a good wheat-y flavor. The oats keep it moist. It has a close grain and slices well, making it good for sandwiches. Not too dense though. That can be an issue with whole grain recipes - they resemble bricks.
I like to use white whole wheat, which is readily available in supermarkets now. It has a lighter color and a sweeter flavor. Many 100% whole wheat breads have a lot of added sugar to compensate for the slightly bitter flavor of "regular" whole wheat. Using white wheat means you can get away with less added sugar.
This recipe makes two loaves. Don't eat bread that fast? Wrap the second loaf well in plastic and stash in the freezer. Bread freezes beautifully. Keep it wrapped up as it thaws on the counter to prevent drying out.
Whole Wheat and Oat Bread
(makes 2 1½ pound loaves)
2 Tablespoons sugar or honey
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
1 ¼ cups lukewarm milk (skim to whole, your choice)
1 Tablespoon instant or bread machine yeast (use 1 ½ Tablespoons at sea level)
5 ½ oz. rolled oats
24-27 oz. whole wheat flour, preferably white whole wheat
2 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
Combine the sugar, water, milk, yeast, and oats in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand for 5 minutes. Using the mixer blade, mix in the remaining ingredients. Start with 24 oz. of flour. Mix for 3 minutes. If the dough is very sticky, add another ounce of flour and mix some more. Repeat as needed. Too sticky is when you poke it, and the dough sticks to your fingers. The oats and the flour take a while to absorb the moisture, so be patient. It may not form a nice ball at this stage. You should err on the side of a bit too much moisture than too little.
Scrape off the mixer blade and replace with the dough hook. Knead for 5 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, covered with a dish towel. Remove the towel and knead for another 5 minutes.
Turn the dough out into a large oiled bowl. Cover with a towel, place in a warm, draft-free place, and let rise until tripled in volume. This could take 1 ½ hours or it could take 45 minutes. It depends on the temperature of your kitchen. Punch down. Divide into two equal pieces. Shape into two 9"x4" loaf (they will be rather flat at this stage). Place in two loaf pans.
I don't usually grease the pans because I've never had bread stick. As a precaution, you can spray the pans with non-stick cooking spray.
Cover loaves with a dish towel and allow to rise until about doubled in volume. The dough should come up to the edge of the pan. Again, the time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen.
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 45 minutes until nicely browned. The best way to confirm it is done is with an instant-read thermometer. The bread should have an internal temperature of 190°F. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and let it cool completely before attempting to slice. Though, this can be pretty hard to do because the bread will smell incredible.
Adapted from http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/09/oat-and-wheat-sandwich-bread/