Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vermont Oatmeal Maple Honey Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour Bakers Companion

So… I have been trying different everyday bread recipes for about a year and I have made some great bread and I am adding this one to the pantheon.  Keep in mind that this is certainly a sweeter bread and not what I want for sandwiches but it is a wonderful breakfast bread.  The smell of this bread as it bakes is amazing and it so super simple to make compared to a lot of the bread recipes I have been trying.  Plus you get two loaves, so I get twice the reward for the same amount of effort.  I baked this bread in two types of bread pans and the glass did a lot better than the metal, if you look at the finished product you will notice that the bread in the metal pan did not rise as much as the glass.  I really hope you try this bread, I think it is a great beginner bread.
Makes 2 sandwich loaves, 16 Slices per loaf
2 1/4 to 2  1/2 cups (18 to 20 ounces) boiling water
1 cup (3  1/2 ounces) thick oat flakes (rolled oats)
1/2 cup (2  3/4 ounces) maple sugar or brown sugar (4 ounces)  I used brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon maple flavor (optional)
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter – always unsalted
1 tablespoon salt – you would think this would be too much but its not
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon instant yeast – this turns out to be a single pack
1 1/2 (7  3/4 ounces) whole wheat flour
4 cups (17 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl (I used the bowl of my Kitchen Aid), combine the water, oats, maple or brown sugar, maple flavor, honey, butter, salt, and cinnamon.  Let cool to luke warm or you will kill your yeast when you add it later.
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Add the yeast and flours, stirring gently until a dough forms.  I added a cup of flour into my mixer at a time with the dough hook attachment.  Knead (about 10 minutes by hand, 5-7 minutes by machine) until the dough is smooth and satiny.  Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, *cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for 1 hour; it should double in bulk.
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* whenever you cover your dough make sure you leave enough room for the dough to expand – you don’t want to stunt its growth.  :)
Sprinkle your board lightly with flour.  Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a loaf.  Place the loaves in two greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 – inch bread pans. 
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Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap (or a proof cover) and allow the loaves to rise until they’ve crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.  I find in the winter I have to place the dough on something and keep it in the laundry – its the warmest spot in my house…  I would put it near the fireplace but then my dog would get to it – she loves bread!!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake the loaves for 35 – 40 minutes.  Remove them from the oven when they’re golden brown and the interior registers 190 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. 
(Keep in mind you can freeze one of these loaves,  wrap it in plastic wrap and then in foil.  When you are ready for it place it in the oven with a sprinkling of water on the top at about 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes – careful it doesn’t burn!!!)

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