Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oat-Wheat Loaf

Now that the holidays are over, many people are on their way to vowing to eat better. What that means depends on what kind of bad eating has been going on. For me, sometimes my "be good" vow includes an effort to eat something in the morning instead of just slurping a cup of coffee.

The problem is that I'm not much of a morning person. I don't want a meal. If something is easy - cold pizza for instance - I might be tempted. But I don't like typical breakfast foods in the morning, and even more than that, I don't have any interest in cooking anything resembling a meal in the morning.

Around the holidays I get even busier than usual, and my non-breakfast sometimes turns into non-lunch. So when I think about improving my eating habits, I start considering ways to eat something simple in the mornings. 

Of course, there's always some kind of bread around. But not every bread inspires me to make toast. And not every bread I make fits my criteria for reasonably healthy breakfast. This one does. White whole wheat and oatmeal add enough fiber and flavor. If I want a little protein, peanut butter isn't far away.

Another benefit to this bread is that making it is designed to work around your schedule. There are plenty of times when the dough rests, and you can stretch that time to fit your schedule.

Oat-Wheat Loaf

1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces) quick oats
1 1/2 cups water, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4  teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

The night before you want to bake, put the white whole wheat flour and the oats into a bowl (use the bowl of your stand mixer if you will be kneading by machine, or use any medium sized bowl if you will knead by hand. Add 1 cup of very warm tap water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter overnight.

In the morning, put mix the remaining 1/2 cup of water (lukewarm this time) with the sugar and yeast in a small bowl, and let it sit until it is foamy, about ten minutes.

Add the yeast mixture and the bread flour to the bowl with the white whole wheat and oats, and mix until combined. Then knead (with the dough hook, or by hand on your counter) until it begins to become elastic. Add the salt and oil and continue kneading until completely incorporated.

Drizzle a little olive oil into a plastic bag and transfer the dough to the bag. Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator.

In the afternoon or evening - or the next day, if that's better for you - take the bag out of the refrigerator and leave it on the counter to come to room temperature, about two hours.

Prepare an 8-inch loaf pan - spray with baking spray if you want extra insurance that it will release easily, and sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Knead briefly, then shape the dough to fit the pan, and place it, seam-side down in the pan. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled - about an hour.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake the loaf at 350 degrees until nicely browned, about 40 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove it and let it cool completely before slicing.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


Jay Dub said...

FWIW, the last few steps are a little out of order, since you say to preheat the oven to 350, and THEN let the bread double.

I made this today. VERY good, especially with some soybean blossom honey. Wow.

Jay Dub said...

Also this was the first time I've ever baked bread (and I'm by no means a cook, generally speaking), so otherwise, pretty spot on with the instructions!


Donna Currie said...

Jay, I'm glad it worked out for you.

I've got the preheat before the final rise of about an hour. Probably a little longer than most ovens need, but I tend to preheat for at least 1/2 hour when I'm baking bread. For most breads, that last rise is about 1/2 hour, so preheating before that point makes the most sense. It could wait until the bread is shaped, but in theory that's shouldn't be a huge difference in time.

Anyway, I'm glad it worked for you, and I hope you'll try some other recipes!

Jay Dub said...

right on - I figured it was that (clearly you know what you are doing!).

I am now looking for something more - I guess "breakfast-y" -- like a cinnamon raisin or something. (with the ingredients I have would be even better).

I will say that my wife liked this recipe enough to demand I make another loaf today. It's cooling right now.

I try to keep my (7 month pregnant) wife happy. :) (She might disagree sometimes. :) )

Donna Currie said...

I'm glad you like the recipe. I've got recipes for a cinnamon swirl loaf and cinnamon knots. Also a couple of sweet breads that have apple flavor, if you like that sort of thing.

Skythe from SE said...

If I don't have white whole wheat, can I use a mix of white and whole wheat flour? (Also, are quick oats a must, or will old fashioned work as well?)

Donna Currie said...

White whole wheat is almost the same regular whole wheat in terms of baking with it - it's ground from a wheat that's lighter colored. Regular wheat is more of a red color. So you should be able to substitute with no problem. There are some subtle differences, but I wouldn't worry about it. Old fashioned oats will be fine too. After that long soak, they'll be nicely softenend.

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