Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oatmeal Bread

One of my fondest childhood memories is making bread with my grandma whom we called 'Nanny'. She would make and hand kneed a big lump of dough, enough for 3 loaves of bread with a little left over. As a small child my favourite part was when she would give my sister and I the leftovers to play with and we would make little dough turtles. They always turned rock hard and were basically inedible after baking but we loved them anyways. In our teenage years when little turtles were behind us, Nanny would make traditional 'Newfie' toutins with the leftover dough. Toutins were pieces of dough, a little smaller than an english muffin, that were fried in a cast iron pan then cut open to eat with butter and of course molasses.

I didn't think of using the leftover dough for toutins at the time so instead I made a few small hamburger-style buns. My new favourite part of making bread is in the picture below.

It doesn't get much cuter than little toddler hands slowly creeping into the lense for a small taste test. Needless to say, that bun didn't last long.

This is a wonderful bread with a great texture and complex taste. It is perfect for smothering with butter or using to make a sandwich. It gets a good healthy boost from the added oats and two types of bran.

Easy Oatmeal Bread

Makes 2 loaves + 6 buns or toutins

1 cup warm water
3 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar

1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup oat bran
3/4 cup wheat bran
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt

2 eggs

5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

In a large heat-proof mixing bowl, stir together oats, oat bran, wheat bran, butter, honey, salt, and the boiling water. Let cool to room temperature. Mix in eggs.
Dissolve yeast and sugar in the cup of warm water. Let sit 5 minutes until foamy on top.
Add yeast mixture and 5 cups flour to the mixing bowl and mix by hand or with dough hook on slow speed. If the dough is quite sticky add the extra cup of flour.
Kneed the dough for 8 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a damp tea towel or loosely with cling wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, approx 1 hour.
Punch down dough and divide into 2 equal parts. Remove a quarter from each and set aside.
Thoroughly grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans.
Roll or use hands to make the two dough balls into two squares the length of the loaf pan. Tightly roll up (like a jelly roll) and pinch the seam to seal. Place seam side down into the loaf pan. Loosely cover and allow the loaves to rise until double in size about 45 minutes. Meanwhile heat your oven to 375f with the oven rack in the center.
You can use your leftover dough to make toutins, buns, or give to kids for turtle creations.
When the loaves have doubled in size, brush tops with water and sprinkle with oats if desired.
Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack until just warm. Slice and spread with butter, jam, molasses, or whatever you desire.

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