Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bread is Not Optional

I do not have much to say just now except that school has been keeping us very busy. It is really in full swing now. I sat down this week and put all of my reading assignments on a calendar, and whew, it is a lot, verging on impossibility! I am doing my best to stay on top of things, but of course, there is always the tyranny of the urgent. The most pressing assignment is the one which will monopolize my time. I have to remember not to worry about tomorrow, for it has it's own worries, but to focus on today's assignments.

Which brings me to my kitchen. Of course, we have to keep eating (and that food calendar is very handy right now). Most days, we have sandwiches for lunch. And because bread is not optional for sandwiches, I took some time out last weekend to make Colonial Oatmeal Bread.

I make this bread for several reasons. First, it is wonderful. It is so tender and flavorful. Second, it is an escape; it takes me to my childhood when my dad would make this and we would eat buttered slices straight out of the oven while it was still warm (This was before the days when there were four bakeries in every neighborhood offering freshly baked breads of every variety.). When I am in the midst of five different theological books, each slightly out of my grasp at points, it is good to have something simple and good for which I can praise God. Third, because we just plain need bread for sandwiches, and I wouldn't rather have any other bread to get me through the day.

Colonial Oatmeal Bread
from my Dad
(I think the recipe originally comes from Good Housekeeping, 1981)
*I need to get my facts straight before I post. My dad told me that he had the recipe before 1981, and thus, any later copies were stolen from him.*

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two packages)
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons butter
2 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour (more or less)
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 egg

In a medium bowl (or in a saucepan), heat the butter and honey until the butter is melted.  Remove from heat.  Add the water; the mixture should be warm (110-120 degrees). Stir in the yeast and let sit until bubbly, about 10 minutes (this is called making a sponge).

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine salt, 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose flour. With mixer on low, gradually blend liquid into dry ingredients until just blended. Increase the speed to medium, beat two minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. Gradually beat in egg and one cup whole wheat flour to make a thick batter. Continue beating two minutes. Stir in oats, 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose flour. Knead till smooth and elastic. Use more flour if too sticky (I usually have to add about 2/3 cup more).

Place in greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down. Turn onto floured surface; cover with bowl and let rise 15 minutes. Shape into loaves and let rise 1 hour in greased 9 x 5 loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes.

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carolineo said...

Dot- Just added you to my "blogs I love to read"! This is so great! The bread looks wonderful and I may have to give warm homemade bread a try on a cool fall day. Hope all is well!

megan said...

oh yum this looks wonderful. I seem to have a serious bread obsession...I just noticed that all the recipes on my blog tend to be desserts or bread! I think I'll bookmark this one for my next free Saturday! :)

Barefoot Belle said...

Caroline, it's so good to see what you've been up to!!! I can't believe you're about to be a mama. I didn't know you had a blog, and it's fun to see the other blogs from our friends. I don't know where I've been.

Megan, I'm right there with you. There's just something about making bread. And desserts--I always have a running "to make" list. I hope you enjoy it when you do have a free Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, this looks so delicious! I have been looking for just the right recipe to get me out of my fear of yeast baking - the one great unexplored area for me - and this just might be it!

Danielle said...

*drool* Yummy! This is when I wish to God I had a stand mixer. :(

Angel said...

This bread looks super yummy. I can't wait to try it out. I just noticed in the written directions that you mention adding yeast in there two times. Adding it to the liquid makes sense to me, but was the second mention a mistake? First line, second paragraph of directions...

"...combine salt, yeast, 2 cups whole wheat flour..."

Just checking...

Barefoot Belle said...

Angel, thanks for catching that! It should be fixed now.

Angel said...

I made the bread last night and it's wonderful! I can't wait to make it again. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Karen said...

i just found your recipe and it's in the bread maker! thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Would old fashioned oatmeal work as well as quick-cook?

Dorothy at Belle of the Kitchen said...

Absolutely! Old fashioned oats will be just fine.

Ingrid said...

I found this bread recipe on Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen and made bread for the first time in probably 30 years. It was WONDERFUL! Thank you so much for sharing it. (And I don't have a stand mixer. I just stirred everything by hand, and it was great, so don't worry about not having one.)

Bet said...

Yum! I'm not a bread-making expert, and this turned out delicious! It came out of the oven right after we had finished (a big) dinner, and we still managed to eat almost half a loaf warm with butter. Sooo goooood! :o)

Diana said...

I also found your great bread recipe through PW's website. I am here in North India for 6 months and have learned how to make the non yeast bread like they eat here. But I was so hungry and homesick for good homemade baked bread. I tried your recipe and I love it and have been sharing with some Indian friends. Thanks!