Honey Oatmeal Bread — 4 stars

There’s nothing I love more than warm bread, fresh out of the oven, slathered with butter, and topped with fruit preserves.  Mmmmmm… I have a tried and true white, slightly-sweet bread recipe I adore.  That recipe has been made so often that I’ve had it memorized for years, I feel comfortable enough with it to experiment with ingredients, and I’ve taught two people to make bread with the recipe.  I wanted something different for my sandwich this week, though, so when this Honey-Oatmeal Sandwich Bread appeared in my RSS reader, I knew I’d found a new bread to try.

First things first with this recipe — read the instructions.  Seriously.  I simply skimmed over the instructions, and ended up throwing out the first batch of dough.  First, I read “1¼ water” as “2¼ water” (don’t ask), and then I missed the part about using powdered, non-fat milk (which I don’t have).  I modified the recipe to account for that, and for my personal preference in the dough consistency.

This bread was pretty tasty.  Usually, one loaf of bread lasts me a week.  Granted, I had a friend here the day I made the bread, but the loaf was more than halfway gone after 2 days.  Perhaps due to the oats, the bread did not rise terribly high — make sure you’re comfortable with the height of the bread when you stick the unbaked loaf in the oven.  If you’re concerned about eating bits of oatmeal, don’t be.  The oats almost completely disappear, and the bread looks more like a wheat bread.  Also, the bread took FOREVER to cook.  I’m using a new oven, so maybe the temperature was off, but the bread took an additional 30-40 minutes to finish.

Ingredients

1¼ cups boiling skim milk
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup honey
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast

Directions

1.  In a large bowl, combine the oats, butter, salt, honey, and milk.  Let cool to room temperature (about 10 minutes).
2.  Mix in the flour and yeast — all at once.  Mix as much as possible with a wooden spoon, then knead dough by hand for 10 minutes.  (Should you be so lucky to have a KitchenAid, you’ll complete this step in much less than 10 minutes!)
3.  Coat a large bowl with oil.  Lightly coat the dough ball with oil, place in bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size — about 1 hour.
4.  Punch dough down and knead for two minutes.  Shape dough into a loaf
5.  Lightly oil a dark, non-stick bread loaf pan.  Place dough into pan, cover, and let rise until dough is about 1.5″ above the edge of the pan.  This should take about an hour.
6.  Bake at 340 for 1 hour.  Tent bread with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent the top of bread from over-browning.

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