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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Honey Oat Bread

I wouldn't consider myself an experienced bread baker, but I do think I have the potential to be a professional homemade bread taste-tester. I love homemade bread. Although I haven't been the one to always do the baking, I rarely pass up the opportunity to eat the deliciousness that is homemade bread.

Now, I'm not the type of person to load up on pre-sliced loaves from the grocery store. Yes, they are usually pretty tasty (especially when you get the loaves filled with nutty goodness!), but I don't crave it like I crave heartier loaves of bread. The thought of a fresh loaf of Mom's Homemade Bread coming out of the oven, or buttering up a crusty slice of Artisan Bread is like food heaven.

Which brings me to my post for today. This recipe for Honey Oat Bread is one of my new found favorites. I came across it a few months ago and haven't looked back. Not only does it smell divine while it is in the oven, it has the perfect amount of "bready-ness" with a slight sweetness that makes you want more than one slice. (Or maybe half of the loaf, but let's not talk about that...) Inside, it is soft and chewy while the crust has a coat of baked honey and oats that is absolutely irresistible.

I like to have everything set out so it's ready when I need it. This recipe is a bit different than the normal bread recipes where you dissolve the yeast before adding additional ingredients. It may seem strange and throw you out of your bread-making comfort zone, but give it a shot. At least once. You will be surprised at the outcome.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, yeast and salt. (Yes, I know it's weird. Just go with it.)
In a separate bowl, warm the milk and butter.

Then add the water and honey to the milk.

Pour the milk and honey mixture into the flour mixture.

Stir until you have a rough dough.

Transfer dough to a clean, dry counter.

Knead the dough for 10 minutes.

When you first start out, the dough will be rather sticky. Just keep working it and you will see it transform into a smooth, elastic dough. It seems excessive, but kneading it for the full 10 minutes is very important for this bread. (You could use a Kitchen-Aid mixer with a dough hook instead if you have one.) I usually set a timer and get a rhythm going. Ten minutes gets to feeling like a long time, so it's best to make it a little more fun. Maybe crank up the music, too. :)

Turn the dough over in a large, well oiled bowl. 
Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled.

While it's rising, line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper.

Divide the risen dough in half. Using your hands, press one half into a rectangle (about 9x12 inches).

Begin tightly rolling the dough into a log. Pinch and tuck the ends underneath.

Transfer to prepared loaf pan and repeat with the other half of the dough.

Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Warm the honey in the microwave and scoop up some oats.

Set an empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Turn the oven on to preheat to 350 degrees. On the stove top, bring about 2 cups of water to a boil.

Drizzle the warmed honey over the tops of the loaves.

Gently brush them to coat.

Sprinkle the oats over the honey.

Place the loaves in the oven and carefully pour the boiling water into the empty loaf pan that is on the bottom rack of the oven.
Quickly close the oven door and bake the loaves for about 40-50 minutes or until they are golden brown and the internal temperature is 190 degrees.
Remove from the pans and transfer to a cooling rack.
Once cooled, store in a large ziploc bag.


6 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. oats (I have used quick and old fashioned, both work great)
4 1/2 tsp. yeast (instant or active dry)
3 tsp. salt
2 c. milk (almond milk works, too)
1/2 c. lukewarm water
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 c. honey

For topping:
4 tablespoons honey, warmed
1/4 c. oats


In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, yeast, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, warm the milk so that it’s hot enough to melt the butter, but not boiling. Add the butter, stirring until melted, then stir in the warm water and honey.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing with a dough hook or wooden spoon, until it just comes together to form a rough dough. 

Knead the dough on a clean, dry surface for 10 minutes. Dough will be very sticky at first. Just be patient. :)
(If the dough is still very wet and sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add a little more flour until the dough is barely tacky. If the dough is too dry, add just a bit of water to soften it up.)

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Line two loaf pans with parchment paper and set aside.

Once doubled, divide the dough in two. 
With your fingers, flatten the dough into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Tightly roll the dough into a log. Flatten each end and tuck underneath. Transfer to a prepared loaf pan and repeat with the other half of the dough. Cover the loaves and allow to rise again for 30 minutes.

Place an empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. 
Bring 2 cups of water to boil on the stovetop.

When the loaves are done rising again, brush the tops with the warmed honey and sprinkle the oats on top.

Place the bread on the middle rack in the oven and carefully pour the boiling water into the empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Quickly close the oven door.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown and the internal temperature is about 190 degrees. 
Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

*If you don't need both loaves right away, I have been known to freeze this bread. It works wonderfully!
I wrapped the completely cooled loaf with 3 layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. When you need to take it out of the freezer, just set it on the counter and let it thaw overnight.

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