At the beginning of December I said I was going to cut back on processed white stuff and other unhealthy food, and try to get myself in shape, since we're going skiing in February and I would like to at least give the illusion that I'm all healthy and athletic.
Hahahahahaha. Anyway, I tried, but certainly wasn't perfect about it. I did, however, pay more attention to what I was eating, and I think, for the most part, I ate less of the bad stuff.
So when I decided to make bread today, I did so with an eye toward keeping it healthiER than the all-white-flour breads I often make.
And I'll tell you right now, that it's SO hard for me to give up white bread. Not so much the white sandwich bread – I can live without that, though I do make a mean loaf of soft, beautifully-crumbed sandwich bread. But it's the other breads…the baguettes, the ciabatta (which I was going to make today, but am postponing that until a day when I don't have painting to do) that I crave. Sob.
Anyway, I saw a recipe for oatmeal bread on the back of my package of King Arthur bread flour, and decided to tinker with that a bit.
And here's what I came up with
First, the ingredients:
Two packets of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 cup of water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 cups bread flour (to start with)
4 teaspoons salt
The dough was still pretty wet at this point, as I expected, so I started adding more bread flour, a half cup at a time, until I had a pretty stiff dough.
I ended up adding a cup and a quarter additional bread flour, fyi. You may require more or less than that, depending on humidity and whether or not Mercury is in retrograde. Just kidding about that second part.
Once I was happy with the dough, I dumped it out on the counter…
and kneaded it briefly until it was smooth and elastic.
Then I put the dough into a greased bowl, pressed it down a bit, covered the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it on a little desk near a south-facing window to rise. (It's warmer there than elsewhere in the house.)
It took about 2 1/2 hours for the dough to rise sufficiently (til doubled in bulk), probably due to a combination of things – the cold air here today, and the heaviness of some of the ingredients – the oats, the whole wheat flour.
Once the dough was ready, I cut it in half and shaped each half into a loaf.
I put these back in the sun, covered with plastic again, and let them rise while I painted some more upstairs.
About an hour later, the loaves had risen and were ready to bake. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F, and when the oven was ready, I prepped the loaves….
I baked them for…let's see…25…plus another 15…and another 6…46 minutes. So we'll say 40-50 minutes, just to give you a ballpark time frame.
Oh, my house smelled good!
I set the loaves on a rack to cool…
The bread is soft and moist and earthy and a little sweet, and I'm betting it will make excellent toast tomorrow morning.
Go ahead and give it a try!