i wasn’t planning on writing about this bread. i had planned on writing about apple pie, which was the star of sunday night. and the tourtiere form last week. and revisiting the lime-ancho chicken that i made last year.* but then, i had some of the bread on monday with lentils for breakfast.** and then i had some for a snack yesterday. and then, i might have had a quarter of the loaf when i got home today. yeah. it’s certainly not worth writing about, is it?
when i was about eight or nine, my parents had a bread maker. one of those terribly hefty things. we made two things in it: pizza dough. and molasses-oatmeal bread.
this bread is, well, beyond divine. as a kid, i ate it for breakfast and lunch. and i would have eaten it for dinner, but there was italian-style bread for that. my family ate a lot of bread. more than is healthy, or healthy to admit. this recipe is not terribly complicated, quite on the contrary. i made it while also making a pie and another loaf of bread. that’s the thing: it just requires a lot of patience. at least, in making it.
adapted from bon appetit, 1994
1/2 cup packed old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 envelope dry yeast
6 tablespoons lightly unsulfured molasses
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
4 cups (about) unbleached all purpose flour
place 1/2 cup oats in large bowl of electric mixer fitted with dough hook; pour 3/4 cup boiling water over.
let stand 30 minutes (water will be absorbed and oatmeal will be very soft).
pour 1 cup warm water into 2-cup glass measuring cup. sprinkle yeast over; stir to blend. let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes.
mix molasses, 2 tablespoons butter and salt into oat mixture in bowl. mix in yeast mixture.
add enough flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form medium-soft dough, mixing at medium speed until well blended, about 3 minutes.
turn out dough onto floured surface. knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if dough is too sticky, about 5 minutes.
form dough into ball. butter large bowl; add dough, turning to coat. cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel.
let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F.
butter 9×5-inch loaf pan.***
punch down dough; turn out into floured surface and knead 3 minutes.
form into a loaf. transfer to prepared pan.
cover with plastic, then towel; let rise in warm draft-free area until dough has risen about 1/2 inch above rim of pan, about 45 minutes.
bake bread 10 minutes; reduce temperature to 350°F.
bake 25 minutes longer. brush top of bread with glaze; sprinkle 1 tablespoon oats over. bake until bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 10 minutes longer.
transfer to rack to cool.
eat plain, with butter, with honey, with bananas and molasses, with cream cheese, with soup or crumbled as breadcrumbs into your favourite casserole or meatball recipe. dare i say this bread does it all?
*yes, i have been here for a full year. as a blog committaphobe, that’s kind of ridiculous.
**yup, i made too many lentils. honestly though, they are really good with a bit of mayo and lemon.
*** um, i didn’t have that size pan available to me (see also: making two loaves of bread at once). so, i used a bundt pan. it made for a really cute shape that looked more like cake. people were not disappointed, except for those who wanted cake.