Saturday, October 3, 2009

The First Oatmeal Bread - Oatmeal-Potato Bread from Beth Hensperger

I believe that I own four of Beth Hensperger's books on bread baking. I decided to start the oatmeal breads for October with her oatmeal potato bread from The Bread Bible. I've made the bread many times before and wanted it to be a part of the oatmeal comparison because it is a never-fail, always delicious bread.

Since I began this blog, I have worried about whether it's OK to post recipes that I get from cookbooks. Today I searched and found an article on that leads me to believe that it's OK to post the ingredients but not the words from the cookbook as regards the action taken in to create the recipe.

In this article, the author says: "According to the U.S. Copyright Office, a list of ingredients isn't protected by copyright law, but the instructions and any other "substantial literary expression" that go with it may be."

So here are the ingredients:

1 potato, approximately 6 ounces (I use a baking potato and didn't weigh it - but I imagine it was a little more than 6 ounces)
2 T unsalted butter
1 T active dry yeast
1 T sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1 T salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I always use McCann's - the best)
5 1/2 - 6 cups unbleached flour
a little bit of rolled oats to coat baking pans

The recipe calls for softening the yeast in warm potato water with a little sugar. I usually use honey instead, and did in this recipe. I used honey from my bees and a tiny whisk, dipping the whisk in the honey and then using it to stir the yeast into the warm water.

I am interested in how delicious most breads made with potato water are. I searched the web to figure this out. Sometimes the potato water is used as a substitute for using milk, but in this recipe, both are used.

I cooked the potato, cut into chunks but not peeled, in water to cover for about 20 minutes. Then I ran the potato without peeling it through my ricer and then stirred in the butter. The peels stay in the ricer and it's much easier than peeling the chunks.

Then you combine the potato, the yeast, the sugar, the milk, the salt, the oatmeal, and 2 cups of flour. Whe you beat this together, the dough looks pretty shaggy. Then you gradually add flour until the dough is the right consistency.

Hensperger suggests that the dough be a little sticky because the oatmeal will continue to absorb moisture during the rising.

After the dough has been kneaded and rises in a bowl, you shape it into two loaves. I sprinkled oatmeal on the bottom of the 9 X 4 pan as the recipe suggests, but I think it would have been even prettier in the end if I had sprinkled the oatmeal on the greased sides of the pan as well.

The bread rose beautifully.

Then I baked it in my oven with the baking stone for 10 minutes at 425 and then for 35 minutes at 350. It turned out just perfectly.

I tasted it and loved the salty, potato taste of the slice. The crust is nice - chewy but not tough. I thought the bread was a perfect oatmeal bread.

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