This bread has a nice crunchy crust coming out of the oven, but if you want a soft crust, place a clean kitchen towel over the top of the bread as it's cooling. After you store it in a plastic bag, the crust will soften, anyway. So if you like that crunchy crust, enjoy it on that first day.
I kneaded this bread using my stand mixer, but you can also knead it by hand if you prefer. Hold back some of the flour from the recipe to flour your work surface, otherwise you risk adding too much during kneading.
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Put the oats, water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and let it stand for 10 minutes to let the oats soften a bit. Add the bread flour and salt and knead with the dough hook until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Add the butter and knead until it is completely incorporated. If you have room temperature butter, that's good, but the stand mixer will have no trouble incorporating refrigerator-cold butter, so don't worry about that.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough has doubled in size, about 50 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Knead briefly, then form into your preferred shape - round or oval. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size - about 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the dough has doubled, remove the plastic wrap Slash the top of the loaf as desired. Bake at 350 degrees until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped in the bottom - about 30 minutes.
Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool completely on a rack before slicing.
This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.