Oatmeal Brown Bread

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This is a special bread recipe, one that comes from a special person.

The secret, I think, is to knead by hand, with love.



Although it's called Oatmeal Brown Bread, the "brown" part comes from molasses - it's made with white flour and rolled oats.

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It makes a heckuva big ball of dough. This baby will double in size.

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... er... the dough baby that is, not the baby baby, whose chubby fingers are about to tear off a teeny bit of dough for a taste. Although I suppose eventually he'll double in size, too, won't he...

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When it's done rising, you could snuggle your head into it and take a nap... or cut the dough pillow in four equal pieces using a bench scraper or chef's knife.

Theo goes in for another bite. Or maybe he's performing a windowpane test?

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Roll the four pieces into nice-shaped loaves. When the loaves have risen to nearly double their size again, it's time to bake.

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Theo demonstrates how to tell they're ready for the oven - when you gently press with your finger into the dough, it will leave an indent (except Theo forgot the "gentle" part).

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For neat, thin slices, wait until it's completely cool. If you have god-like patience.

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I recommend keeping one loaf, and sharing three. It's good juju. Slather them with butter and marmalade, or use to sop up baked beans.

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Gram Oatmeal Bread
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 10Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick or instant)
  • 2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 10 cups all purpose flour (approximate)

Preparation

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add milk and bring back up to a near-boil; remove from heat when steaming and small bubbles begin to form at edges. Add molasses, butter and salt; stir until molasses is dissolved and butter is melted. Add oats and let stand until only lukewarm.

  2. Meanwhile, combine yeast and sugar with 1 cup lukewarm water in your largest mixing bowl; set aside ten minutes to activate (it will become bubbly and grow).

  3. When the oatmeal mixture is cool, add to the yeast mixture, beating well with a wooden spoon to combine. Beat in the flour, a cup at a time, until it is too difficult to incorporate with the spoon, then dump it out onto a clean counter and start to knead, adding more flour as needed to create a smooth, workable ball of dough. Knead about 10 minutes total. Set dough aside to rise in a warm spot with a tea towel draped over top for about an hour, until doubled in size. Punch down, then divide into 4 equal pieces, forming each into a ball. Let rise once again, for another hour.

  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust dough balls with additional flour for a rustic look, then use a sharp serrated knife to make a few 1/2"-deep slashes. Bake 1-2 loaves at a time (refrigerating remaining dough balls in the meantime to prevent over-proofing) on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake about 45 minutes, or until well-browned and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.