Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Honey Oatmeal Bread

When people think something is really great, they sometimes say,

"That's the best thing since sliced bread!" 

Actually, I haven't heard a soul make that comment in a very long time.  I'm going to try and work that statement into a conversation sometime this week. 

I love words and phrases and figures of speech.  As my three children have grown up, they have learned that some parts of the English language really don't make any sense.  I have always taken the time to explain to them what words mean.  Or even better, help them try to figure it out themselves!  I truly believe that a person with a broad vocabulary just sounds more intelligent.  Never-mind the fact that my 6th grader's math confuses me.  I might still sound smart! 

Disclosure:   Is it weird that I own a book titled, "Dictionary of Word Origins - A History of the Words, Expressions, and Cliches We Use"?  Don't answer.  The truth hurts sometimes.

Today's recipe share really is the best thing since sliced bread!  That didn't count.  I need to use it in a face-to-face conversation with a human being.  Saying it to our dog, Oscar, who is sitting at my feet right now won't do.

I spotted this recipe for Honey Oatmeal Bread on Ree Drummond's (aka Pioneer Woman) very popular blog several months ago.  This bread is so delicious and easy to make and, great news, it bakes two loaves.  Eat one now and freeze the other for later or share the other one now.  Do whatever you like.  Be sure to stop over at Pioneer Woman's sister blog, Tasty Kitchen, for a huge assortment of recipes posted by bloggers just like me!

Honey Oatmeal Bread
Here's What You Need:
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
4 Tablespoons butter
2 1/4 cups water
1 Tablespoon salt
2 3/4 cups flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 egg

Here's What You Do:
In a medium bowl, heat the butter and honey until the butter is melted.  I did it in the microwave.  You don't want it boiling hot; just melt the butter.  Add the water.  When the mixture is warm (not hot) stir in the yeast and let it sit until bubbly.  It will take about 10 minutes.  Just set your timer and walk away.  You can't rush anything with yeast in it! 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the dough hook on, combine the salt, yeast mixture, 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup regular flour.  Turn the mixer on low and gradually blend the ingredients together.  After it becomes just blended, increase the speed to medium and beat for two minutes.  Scrape the bowl every once in a while.  Add the egg and one cup of whole wheat flour to make a thick batter.  Beat for 2 more minutes.  Stir in the oats and 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of regular flour.  Knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth.  If the dough appears to be too sticky, add more flour.  You can add up to 2/3 cup more flour, but do so in small increments.  The weather plays a big role in how yeast dough rises and how much flour you may or may not need.

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and put the dough into the bowl.  Spray a piece of plastic wrap too and loosely cover the bowl with the plastic wrap.  Set the bowl in a warm place free of drafts.  I like to bake bread on a day when I'm doing laundry.  It gets nice and warm in the laundry room with the dryer running!  Wait until the dough has doubled in size.  It will take about 1 hour.  Punch the dough down (I love that step!) and turn it out onto a lightly floured counter.  Cover the dough with the bowl on top and let it rest for 15 minutes.  Shape the dough into two loaves and let it rise in greased loaf pans for one hour.  Again, cover with a lightly sprayed piece of plastic wrap.  It should take about an hour for this step too.  Bake at 350 degree for 35-40 minutes.  Let it cool for a few minutes before turning out of the loaf pans.  But please don't let it cool completely in the pan or the heat will be trapped inside and cause the bread to become very soggy. 

You don't want soggy bread.  Trust me.

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