I’ve been dead silent about my Bread Challenge for a while, but I did do quite a bit of bread baking this spring (not so much during the summer…). I had one failure (I fault the recipe because my Mom had similar issues as me), some mediocre results, and a really good sandwich bread.
I have learned quite a few things during this challenge:
- While I still need practice, and I am definitely learning how to tell when my bread has been kneaded enough.
- I know how to make adjustments for my climate and altitude: add an extra tablespoon of water, and do an extra rise before shaping the dough.
- After a number of attempts making a 100% whole wheat loaf, I have decided that I prefer recipes that use a bit of all-purpose or bread flour. The white flour adds a little more gluteny stretch, which I prefer.
- It no longer seems like a “big deal” to make bread. It just takes a little planning to get started early enough in the day.
I am now feeling pretty confident with my basic bread-baking skills, so I would like to start spreading my wings a bit more. Perhaps trying some rolls or maybe even a baguette. For my next challenge, I am considering this hamburger bun recipe: Beautiful Burger Buns.
My favorite bread recipe so far is called “Honey-Oatmeal Sandwich Bread”, and it comes from King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking. I thought I would share it with you! I give instructions for using a stand mixer, but feel free to substitute whatever method (hand kneading or bread machine) that you prefer.
Honey-Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
- 1¼ cups (10 ounces) boiling water
- 1 cup (3½ ounces) rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup (3 ounces) honey
- 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
- 1 2/3 cups (7 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (1 ounce) nonfat dry milk
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
Place the boiling water, oats, butter, salt, and honey into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix well using the flat paddle beater and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.
Add the remaining ingredients to the mixer bowl. Mix again, just until the flour and liquid are combined. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 45 minutes.
Uncover the bowl and switch to the dough hook. Knead the dough on low speed until you have a soft, smooth dough, about 15 minutes. Stop and scrape down the bowl and dough hook as needed.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Oil your hands, then gently deflate the dough and shape it into a 9 inch log. Place it in the prepared pan. Cover it gently with greased plastic wrap. Allow the bread to rise until it is crowned 1½ inches above the rim of the pan, roughly 1 to 1½ hours. Preheat the oven to 350°F when the bread is almost fully risen.
Uncover the bread and bake for about 45 minutes, until it is golden brown. Tent it with foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The bread should register 190°F when tested with an instant-read thermometer.
Turn the finished bread out onto a cooling rack. Cool the bread completely before cutting it.