This isn't store-bought sandwich bread - you don't avoid the dry end crust. You fight with your silblings over who gets the crunchy and soft heel of the bread when it's fresh out of the oven and the butter melts into it.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon yeast (or 1 ¼ ounce packet)
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup dry milk
- 1/2 cup oat bran or wheat germ*
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3–4 cups white flour
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves
* If you don’t have oat bran or wheat germ, don’t worry; just leave it out and and some more flour to reach the right consistency
- Cook the first cup of oats in the first 2 cups of water, making about 1½ cups of oatmeal. Transfer this to a large bowl (and I really mean large). Add the remaining 2 cups of water and stir. (I recommend using a big, heavy duty wooden spoon.) The mixture should be warm but not so hot it hurts to touch.
- Add the yeast and mix. Stir in all the remaining ingredients except the white flour and mix thoroughly. Begin adding the white flour until it becomes too difficult to stir. Then transfer the dough to a floured counter top, dump on additional flour, and begin to knead. Continue to knead and add flour until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be sticky no matter what, so be careful not to add too much flour. (And yes, your hands will be coated in dough.)
- Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp dish towel to keep the dough from drying out. Place in a warm spot and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (I learned from my dad that a good place is in the oven with just the oven light on.)
- After the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it again on the floured counter top. Divide the dough in half and knead each half into an even ball. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the mixing bowl and tilt to coat the sides. Roll one of the pieces of dough in the oil until it is well coated. Press the dough into a 9”x5” loaf pan so that it is flat on top and into all of the corners. Slit the top diagonally. (This gives the bread somewhere to expand as it bakes. Otherwise, the sides of your loaf will split.) Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Let rise 45 minutes to an hour, again in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. (If this is where the bread is rising, don’t forget to take it out first!) Bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove from pans and place on a wire rack to cool. (Leaving them in the pans too long will make the sides and bottom soggy instead of crusty.)