Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maple Oatmeal Bread

One of my favourite comfort foods as a child was oatmeal. Yes, that thick, gooey sludge that is known as oatmeal. Hard to believe that I liked it as a kid since it is often a stigma that kids are repulsed by "healthy" food. But my mom made such great oatmeal, made with warm milk and sweetened with sugar. It was certainly a treat to have on a cold winter's morning.

july22_01 copy

I don't have oatmeal much nowadays, since my comfort food of choice now are pancakes drenched with sweet maple syrup. Thus, when I came across this recipe for Maple Oatmeal Bread, I thought it was a happy medium between my favourite childhood comfort food, and my favourite comfort food of today. Maple syrup is often drizzled on top of hot, steaming oatmeal, so I thought that the combination of the two ingredients couldn't be bad either.

What I got when I pulled the loaves out of the oven were two extremely soft breads. I thought that with the use of rolled outs, the bread would have a sturdier texture, much like if you use whole wheat flour, but I was surprised (and delighted!) to find how incredibly soft the texture was. The maple syrup loses its distinct maple flavour, but it adds a nice sweetness to the bread. Next time, I'll probably replace some of the bread flour with whole wheat flour to make this bread even more healthy.

By letting the rolled oats stand in the boiling water for an hour, the water moistens the dried oats, making an "oatmeal" like paste, as well as starts the fermentation process. This step really helps add moisture to the bread. Because of the amount of moist ingredients used in this recipe, the dough will be considerably tackier than some other bread doughs you've handled in the past. Don't despair thought; just be patient during the kneading the process, and be sure to flour your work surface well before turning out onto your counter. And trust me, despite the slight sticky mess the bread will leave behind, it'll all be worth it when you turn those loaves out of their pans and bite into a cottony-soft slice, slathered with butter, jam, or just as is.

july22_02 copy

Maple Oatmeal Bread
Adapted from The Fresh Loaf
Makes 2 to 3 loaves

2 ½ cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 cups bread flour

Put the oats into a bowl. Pour the boiling water, reserving about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the water, over the oats and set aside for an hour.

In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of the syrup with the reserved water, warmed to 100° to 115°F. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside to let foam for about 10 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the soaked oats with the syrup, salt, oil, yeast mixture and 1/2 cup flour. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients until a smooth batter forms. Gradually add in the flour 1/2 at a time, mixing well to incorporate after each addition, until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch from the paddle to the dough hook, and machine-knead for about 15 minutes, adding the remaining flour. You may add an additional 1/2 cup flour as needed to reach the right consistency; you want your dough to be tacky, but not completely sticky. Place the dough in a large, well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Punch down dough and divide the dough into two (or three) and shape the loaves. Place the loaves in greased 9 x 5 loaf pans, cover the pans loosely with plastic or tea towel, and set aside to rise again for 60 to 90 minutes.

Bake at 350°F for 40 - 50 minutes. If the tops are browning too quickly halfway through the baking time, cover the bread with aluminum foil. Take out of oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks and let cool completely.


Post a Comment

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP