Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Whole Wheat Maple Oatmeal Bread

I don't often make bread because let's face it, the process takes a lot of time and effort. Every now and then I get the urge to make bread, and this long weekend I decided to try out a new recipe. The result? Definitely the best home made bread I have ever eaten. So much so that I am seriously considering making this EVERY weekend so that we have some around to devour during the week.

Now that must be some good bread, people. Try this. You MUST!

Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2008

1 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water(105-115 F)
1 egg
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup pure maple syrup (B grade is best)
½ tsp maple extract
2 cups flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp salt
2 tsp quick (instant) rising yeast

Measure out 1 ½ cups of each of the flours, the oats, yeast, and salt into a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside. In a large heavy duty mixer with a dough hook, combine the ingredients in the order listed. Add the flour mixture and let it combine until the mixture comes together into a sticky dough, stirring in the remaining ½ cup of each of the flours if needed. It should take about 8 minutes.

When I did this I didn’t need quite all the flour, and I chose to take the dough out of the mixer and knead it by hand for about 5 minutes. At first it seemed a bit tough and hard to work with, but once I got going it became smooth and elastic.

Grease a large bowl with some butter and put your dough inside.Cover with plastic wrap and put it in a cold oven with the light on to rise for about 1 ½ hours.

Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.Take your dough out of the oven and punch it down, kneading it for a few minutes to get the air bubbles out.Shape it into a log about 8x3 inches, and plunk it in the loaf pan.Cover it with plastic film that you have buttered, and place the film, buttered side down, over the pan. Set it back into the oven to rise for about 45 minutes.

When your bread is sufficiently risen, take it out of the oven and turn the oven ON to 350 F. Bake the bread in the center of the oven until golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped; about 30 minutes. Cool in pan for about 15 minutes and then remove to rack and cool completely.

Store on the counter wrapped in foil or in cling wrap.

Makes one amazingly delicious loaf that is perfect for sandwiches and toast.
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