Thursday, March 1

Oatmeal whole wheat bread

Ignore the fantabulous background and focus on the totally awesome looking bread.

Now that the blog is up and running, I can finally get to those posts that have been languishing in my cue for over a year.

When I first started making homemade bread, I was super excited because I conquered (mostly) my fear of yeast and - Hello! Homemade bread!

But, unfortunately, I haven't made any bread in a while.  Tara isn't much of a fan (she likes plain ol' white bread) and there's only so much that I can eat.  Because of that, it either goes bad or I have to freeze it for some yet-to-be-determined use.  So, I just kind of...stopped.

However, looking at these photos is making me hungry for some fresh bread.

I had a few problems with this dough.  Mainly, it was incredibly large and very unruly. It didn't just double; I think it quadrupled in size. I've learned a little bit more about bread-baking and now realize that the dough rose too much, probably because it was super humid and warm.

I also converted the yeast in the recipe from active dry to instant or rapid rise without reducing the amount; that may have played a part as well. I have fixed the amount in the recipe below.

I should have proceeded with the shaping and baking when the dough was the right size, not according to what the recipe said. I'm learning that, while the recipe is important, some skill and experience is also helpful.  This is true of any baking or cooking, but it seems especially important with bread-baking.

I somewhat prefer the free-form loaf look, but I'm also a little scared of making a sandwich loaf.  (It's silly, I know, but steps.)  My loaf was probably no more that 2 and a half inches high at it's tallest spot. 

I paired this with a few things, but my favorite was a smear of organic tomato paste (it must be organic,  Trust me; it's totally worth the extra few cents.) and soft cheese like cream cheese or those Happy Cow wedges.  I'm sure it would be a great sandwich bread, especially if you like whole wheat, slightly sweeter breads.  Mine wasn't exactly conducive to sandwich making, though, because of its funky shape.  

Little visitor. 

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread
barely adapted from Cafe Fernando, adapted it from “Good to the Grain” by Kim Boyce.

I mixed the dough in my stand mixer, but I will give instructions for doing it by hand.


  • 2 cups warm water
  • scant 2 tsp instant / rapid rise yeast
  • 3 tbsp unsulphured molasses
  • 2+1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast, water, molasses, melted butter, oats, and half the flours.  Using the paddle blade, blend until smooth. Stir in remaining flours with a wooden spoon.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.

Add salt to the dough, attach the bread hook to the mixer and mix on medium speed for 6 minutes, until the dough no longer sticks to the sides (add a tablespoon or two of flour if necessary).  While the dough is mixing, lightly butter a large bowl.  Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it a few times. Proceed below.

By hand: Combine half the flour with the oats and yeast in a large bowl and stir to blend.  Add the water, molasses, melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Stir in remaining flours.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.  Lightly butter a large bowl.  Add salt to the dough.  Knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.  Proceed below.

Put the dough into the buttered bowl, cover with a towel or saran wrap, and let it rise for about 1 hour, or until it is doubled in size.

Free-form loaf shape: Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface. Shape the dough by bringing the sides of the dough to the bottom.  Squeeze and pinch the seam closed tightly.  Do this a few more times, making sure that you shape the loaf into an oval shape the last time.  Put the dough on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a little flour, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap.  Let rest until the dough puffs slightly, about 20 minutes.  Pinch the bottom of the oval to seal the seam as best you can.  Sprinkle all over with flour and put on a well-floured baking sheet.  Let rise, covered, until it doubles in size again, about 1 to 2 hours.  

Sandwich loaf shape: Shape it into a square, then fold it down from the top to the middle and then up from the bottom to the middle (just like you fold a letter). Bring the top and bottom edges together, pinch and seal.  Place the dough in the pan with the seam side down, and press it gently into the corners of the pan. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size again.

About 30 minutes before you're going to bake, heat the oven to 450F.  If you have a pizza stone, put it on the bottom rack.  If you don't, on the oven floor, put a shallow ovenproof pot (I use 2 old metal bread making pans) half-filled with ordinary (but clean) rocks.  Boil some water.  Just before putting the bread in the oven, carefully pour boiling water to just over the top of the stones.  Close the oven door.  A minute later, put in the bread and start baking, turning the heat down to 400F.

Bake until the internal temperature of the bread is at least 210F on an instant-read thermometer, about 40 to 60 minutes.  Remove and cool on a wire rack.

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