Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oatmeal Graham Bread from Hensperger

I was out of town over the weekend and didn't get home until late Monday so I baked my October oatmeal weekend bread on Tuesday. I picked Beth Hensperger's Oatmeal Graham bread from her wonderful book: Bread for All Seasons.

I love this cookbook and this bread appears in the February section. Personally I think it's perfect for fall as well.

Here is the ingredient list:

2 cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats (I always use McCann's)
1/2 cup honey (my own from my bees)
4 T butter - she calls for unsalted - I didn't have any and used salted
1 1/2 T active dry yeast
pinch of sugar (I used a dip of honey on a tiny whisk)
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups graham or whole wheat flour
2 2/1 - 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
extra rolled oats for sprinkling
1 egg yolk
2 T sesame seeds

As in many oatmeal breads, first you boil the water and pour it over the oatmeal, honey and butter. This has to cool in order not to kill the yeast in the third step.

Meanwhile you soften the yeast in the water. I stir the yeast with a whisk dipped in honey and then leave the whisk in the mix as the yeast begins to work.

Now that the oatmeal mix is cool and the yeast is up and running, you pour the yeast into the oatmeal in the mixing bowl. Add salt, whole wheat flour (I always use King Arthur's) and a cup of the unbleached flour. You beat this together well - about a minute.

Then you add the rest of the unbleached flour, 1/2 cup at a time. I switch to the bread hook after the mixture gets pretty stiff. Knead first by machine and then some on the counter before leaving it to rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

When the bread has risen, divide the dough in half and shape it into two loaves. Grease the baking pans and sprinkle oatmeal all over the bottom and sides.

Before baking in a 375 oven, brush the tops of the loaves gently with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with 1 T sesame seed per loaf.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes and then cool on racks.

This is a beautiful and absolutely delicious bread. It is soft and honey-nutty tasting.

The crumb is pretty and the bread crust is tender. So far this is my favorite of the oatmeal breads. It would do well for sandwiches (tried it at lunch today) or as breakfast toast.
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