I love the simplicity of baking bread. I know many might think that it’s a bit intimidating, but it’s really quite simple [albeit time consuming!]: mix, knead, rise, shape, rise, bake, enjoy. Personally, I think baking bread [can be] even easier than making cookies! All that hassle of individually scooping and shaping a zillion dozen cookies… ugh. Delicious, but ugh. And the added benefit of baking bread versus cookies? The smell of baking and that freshly baked bread lingering in your house…. it’s absolutely heavenly!
Speaking of heavenly, this bread should be right there in the dictionary next to the word “heavenly,” cause that’s how amazing it is! It’s very light and soft thanks to the creamy, tangy buttermilk base of the dough–perfect for dipping in potato soup and those future fall stews that will be popping up soon. Aside from dipping, this bread is divine with a dab of butter and honey, both of which accentuate the sweet, oat-y flavor.
One last thing I loved about this bread was its bakery-esque shape. It made me feel so fancy and accomplished when I opened up the oven and pulled out not just one, but two hearty loaves of Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread. If two loaves are too many, give one away to a friend or halve the recipe… easy as pie! Er… bread.
Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread [from Clockwork Lemon]
- 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats + more for sprinkling
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 – 3/4 cup extra [even with 3/4 cup dough should be very sticky]
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour [I used bread flour]
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
In a small bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups oats with boiling water, stir until water has been absorbed. Set aside.
Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast and warm water. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve.
While yeast is resting, use another bowl or measuring cup to whisk together buttermilk, oil, and brown sugar. Stir until brown sugar is almost dissolved, then set aside.
Combine flours [not including "extra" whole wheat flour] and salt in another bowl.
By this point, the yeast should be dissolved. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture with mixer running on low, using the paddle attachment. Then add oats and mix until combined. At this point, add up to 3/4 cup extra whole wheat flour. The dough will still be very sticky so it’s definitely a judgement call–I added about 1/2 cup.
Switch to the dough hook and knead on low-medium for 10-12 minutes. The original recipe advised 15-20 minutes but I was fearful of wearing out my mixer’s motor and the dough was springing back substantially after about 10 minutes, so I stopped early. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally during this process to make sure everything is getting kneaded well.
Remove dough from bowl, then oil bowl and replace dough. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set in a warm place [I used our balcony!] to double. This should take about an hour.
Turn dough onto a floured countertop. Flatten into a 12×6 inch rectangle. Cut this in half and then pat into two slightly bigger rectangles. Fold the two sides to overlap [like folding a letter] then roll the dough away from you to form a loaf. Flip the loaf over and let it sit on its seam for a minute. Repeat with second piece, then place the formed loaves on baking sheets. [My thanks to Stephanie for this paragraph of instructions, there is no way I could have explained this better.]
Cover in greased plastic wrap and let rise for 30-45 minutes. After about 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 385 degrees.
Brush water on top of each loaf of bread, then top with extra oats. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until crust is dark brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.
Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks. Cool completely before cutting so it holds it’s shape… but don’t worry, you can reheat for fresh, warm buttered bread… amazing!
Time: 4 hours [1 hour active, max].
Yield: 2 loaves.