There are three reasons why I made this bread.
Firstly, I didn’t want to be making milk loaves all the time. I wanted variety, and I wanted to challenge myself and see what else my Kitchenaid and I could accomplish.
Secondly, I wanted to use up as many of our pantry ingredients as I could, because we would not be able to leave any perishables behind when we leave Massachusetts later this week. I definitely did not want to fill my luggage with food items either.
And lastly, well,…who could resist a loaf of oatmeal bread? It’s wholesome, it’s good…and when you throw in honey/maple syrup to the equation, you’ve got yourself a winning combination.
The question then was whether I could make this combination work in a bread form. You can pretty much call this either honey or maple oatmeal bread, depending on what you use as your ingredients. I used maple syrup because that’s what I had left in the pantry, but I might use honey some other time. So mine’s Maple Oatmeal Bread…and it took me three attempts to perfect it. 🙂
Attempts 1 and 2 fell flat on the face, and emerged rock hard. I am not sure if it was the temperature or the recipe’s fault, but this made me hunt down a new recipe for my third attempt. I found one at Bakingdom, which was interesting because the recipe called for the use of an additional pan of freshly boiled water in the oven while the bread was baking. According to the creator of this recipe, this step will produce humidity within the oven that helps develop the tender and chewy crust that is unique with this bread. Almost everyone who tried baking the bread with this recipe yielded success, which was just the affirmation I needed.
Well, you know what? I’m glad this recipe worked like a charm! The bread was moist, though a little dense, but absolutely flavorful, just the way I like it. Furthermore, oatmeal breads are usually on the “dense-r” side, and I simply love how the loaf looks! I used half-n-half of whole wheat flour and unbleached bread flour in this recipe, but you can pretty much use any combination of suitable flour for the bread, even all-purpose flour!
This bread is just the right kind of wonderful and it tastes oh-so-heavenly with butter! Mmmmmm….
Maple Oatmeal Bread
(~Makes 1 9×5 inch loaf: adapted from Bakingdom~)
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1½ cups unbleached bread flour
- ¾ cups oats (I used instant, but according to the creator of the recipe old-fashioned oats work just as well)
- 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast/active dry yeast (1 envelope)
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk (almond or soy milk for vegan/dairy free)
- ¼ cup (62 ml) lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter or margarine
- ¼ cup maple syrup (can be substituted with honey, or agave for vegan)
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (can be substituted with honey, or agave for vegan), warmed
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons oats
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, oats, yeast, and salt.
- In a small bowl, or two cup (450 ml) measuring cup, warm the milk so that it’s hot enough to melt the butter, but not boiling. Add the butter, stirring until melted, then stir in the water and honey.
- Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing with a dough hook until it just comes together to form a dough. Knead in the mixer, with the dough hook attachment, for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic (if you’re making this recipe by hand, the dough will be very sticky at first; flour your hands and work surface generously and be patient). If the dough is still very wet and sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is barely tacky. If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) at a time, to soften it up.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about ½ to 1 hour.
- Once doubled, place the dough on a clean, dry work surface. If the dough is too sticky, lightly flour the surface before continuing. With your fingers, flatten the dough into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Tightly roll the dough, tucking the ends as needed, into a loaf.
- Place the shaped dough into a 9×5-inch loaf pan, cover with a clean dry towel, and allow to rise until doubled, about ½ to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C). Place an empty loaf pan or empty baking bowl/container on the bottom rack of the oven and bring 2 cups of water to a boil on the stove.
- When the loaf is doubled again, brush the top with the warmed honey and sprinkle with the oats.
- Place the bread in the oven and pour the boiling water into the empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown and the internal temperature is about 190 degrees.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.
Try making this loaf of bread if you haven’t – you won’t regret it! 🙂