Friday, 20 April 2012

Crusty oatmeal bread

I had mentioned in one of my recent posts that we've been consciously incorporating quite a bit of oat into our daily diet, due primarily to my other half's committed effort to lower his cholesterol.  We've had quite a bit of oat-based muffins, pancakes, cookies, and most recently we made oatmeal bread!

This simple oatmeal loaf was so surprisingly good that I knew I had to share it here with all of you the minute I took my first bite.  Health benefits aside, what really surprised me was how crisp the crust turned out while the insides remained soft and moist.  I strongly recommend having this bread fresh out of the oven, once it has cooled slightly but still warm to the touch.  A day later the crust was still lovely but not as crispy as the day before.  Herr Scherrer made some pink salmon sandwiches with it for lunch and it was so yummy we regretted not making a bigger loaf as we ran out of bread!  I intend to try the recipe again soon, replacing a portion of the strong white flour with wholemeal flour.  

Recipe below makes 1 small loaf

1 tsp dried yeast
175ml water
188g strong white flour
125g oatmeal (I grounded rolled oats in a food processer)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp honey

Sprinkle yeast into 50ml of water. Leave for 5 minutes then stir to dissolve. Mix flour, oatmeal and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in yeast mixture and honey. Pour in remaining water in 2 to 3 batches while gradually mixing in the flour to form a stiff sticky dough. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic. Put the dough into a clean bowl and cover with towel. Leave to rise until double in size, about 1.5 hours. Knock back, then leave to rest for 10 minutes. Shape dough into a loaf. Place on an oiled baking sheet or loaf tin and cover with towel. Prove until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Brush loaf with water and sprinkle some rolled oats over the top.  Bake in preheated 200 C oven for about 35 minutes until brown and hollow sounding when tapped underneath. Leave to cool on wire rack (out of loaf tin).

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