Oatmeal bread, no-knead style

Let me begin by apologizing to the aunts and uncles who received bread from me on Thanksgiving.  You got my first attempt at this recipe.  Yesterday’s loaves were much prettier.  I do hope it still tasted good!  I should have used smaller pans the first time to get taller loaves.

This oatmeal bread is my latest attempt at everyday sandwich bread.  The basic recipe is from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it was definitely less work than the cracked wheat bread I’ve been baking.  Get this recipe started on Sunday, and you will have a couple nice loaves ready for Monday morning’s toast and school lunches.  After being away for several days over Thanksgiving, we needed the smell of freshly baked bread to replace the stale air that had taken over the house while we were gone.

I adapted this recipe, though not all of my changes were intentional.  I used wheat germ, thinking it was wheat bran (even though I do have wheat bran in the pantry!).  In any case, switching the grains in this recipe doesn’t seem to do any harm.  Use what you have, as long as you keep the proportions of wet and dry ingredients the same.  I also think this amount of dough makes only two 9″x4″ loaves, not three (unless you use smaller loaf pans).  You may need to adjust for the size and shape of your pans.

Oatmeal Bread
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 cup milk (skim works fine)
1/2 cup molasses, honey or maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup wheat germ OR wheat or oat bran
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast and salt with the water, milk, molasses and oil in a large bowl or lidded food container.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.  You may need to use wet hands to mix in the last bit of flour.

Cover the bowl with a lid or a plate (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough rises and collapses (flattens on top).  In my cold house, this can be closer to 3 hours.

You can shape and bake the loaves now, or refrigerate the dough and use over the next 8 days.  I like to go ahead and bake it all, and put my extra loaf in the freezer for later in the week.

Grease two 9″x4″ nonstick loaf pans.  (I have a well-seasoned Pampered Chef stoneware pan that is essentially nonstick, but a regular loaf pan lined with greased parchment or foil works just fine, too.)  Dust the surface of the dough with flour and scrape out half with a sturdy spatula.  Dust the piece of dough with more flour and quickly shape into a ball by gently stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball in your hands as you go.  (This is much easier than it sounds.  See this video if you need a visual.)

Stretch the ball into an oval and place it in the pan.  Let rise for 40 minutes (for fresh dough) or 1 hour and 20 minutes (for refrigerated dough).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Put one rack in the center of the oven, and place an empty broiler tray or metal pan on the lowest rack.

Put the loaf pans in the center of the oven.  Pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door.  Bake for 50 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm.  Cool on a rack before slicing.

One cheese sandwich on a Winnie the Pooh plate, coming right up!

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