October 15, 2013
Honey Oat Sandwich Bread
I've gone through several bread recipes trying to find one that I super love -- one that blows me away for toast and sandwiches and eating with a mere swipe of butter over top. It has been shockingly difficult to find one that meets all of those criteria. But I think I've found it!
Other loaves have let me down -- one in particular was delicious and everything I wanted, except it was so darn fickle that it only turned out right half of the time. Sometimes a recipe I found would be great for sandwiches, but make abysmal toast. Sometimes the bread I came up with was so dense that lovely toast was all it was good for. (I mean, none of it was inedible, because no matter how you slice it, homemade bread is a delicious thing, but... you know...)
This loaf is the perfect compromise. It rises nice and high, thanks to the bread flour included, but still has more than enough whole wheat (and oats!) for me to feel great about eating it. I have a serious crush on this bread. It's wheaty and oaty (we all know how I feel about things that are oaty...). The texture is perfectly soft, but not so soft that it drys out when toasted.
Ah, yes. Fresh from the toaster with a smearing of butter and a dripping of honey...
Try it. I know you'll love it, too.
Honey Oat Sandwich Bread
adapted from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
1 c. boiling water
1 c. rolled oats
1 3/4 c. (9 2/3 oz.) whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. (8 1/4 oz.) + up to 1/2 c. bread flour
1/4 c. oat bran
2 1/4 tsp. (1 packet) instant/rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. milk, warmed
1/4 c. honey
3 Tbsp. butter (plus more for brushing on top of loaf), melted and slightly cooled
Combine boiling water and oats, cover and let stand until just warm -- about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together flours, oat bran, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
Once water/oat mixture has cooled, add to it the milk, honey, and butter. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough comes together (about 2 minutes). Increase mixer speed to medium and knead 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. After 4 minutes, check the dough to be sure it clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom. If needed, add additional bread flour, 2 Tbsp. at a time, up to 1/2 c., until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. (I rarely have to add more flour.)
Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter, and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place in a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled -- about 1 1/2 hours. (Don't skimp on this rise or you may get a shorter loaf in the end.)
Turn risen dough out onto floured counter. Pat into a 9x9" square, roll into a tight cylinder, and pinch the seam closed. Place loaf seam-side-down in greased loaf pan, pressing lightly into corners. Spray with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until nearly doubled -- about 45 to 75 minutes.
Heat oven to 350º. Brush loaf with melted butter, then lightly spray with water. Bake until crust is golden and the loaf sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let cool completely before storing in an airtight bag.