September 30, 2009

Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread

I don't know if I've discussed this before but I've baked bread a fair amount of times and while they usually turn out pretty well, I can never seem to achieve that bread bakery quality. You know, the crusty on the outside, spongy and springy on the inside quality. Well, this bread is the closest I've come so far.

No, it's not perfect but the texture on the inside is pretty spot-on. The outside was crusty and hard when it emerged from the oven, but after sitting on the counter overnight it became more like the crust of a traditional supermarket loaf, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The crust actually had a nice oven baked flavor; it tastes like it looks, browned and oaty- definitely not a bad thing.

I used mostly white whole wheat flour for this bread (it's my first time trying it out so I used a bit of all-purpose as well) and like one of my new favorites, whole wheat pastry flour, I was very pleased with it. It's lighter in color and flavor than regular whole wheat flour but is almost equal in nutritional value (I believe white whole wheat has 1 gram less fiber than whole wheat per serving) so it's a great alternative to refined flour with a less noticeable change in flavor (than using traditional whole wheat). Plus, it was on sale at the grocery store! What more could you ask for?

Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread

makes 2 medium boules (see Peabody's site if you would rather bake 1 loaf in a bread pan, instead of 2 boules on a pizza stone as I have done. Alternatively, Foodie Bride made her two boules in a dutch oven.)
Adapted from Foodie Bride's take on Peabody's recipe

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
1/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour [I added an extra 1/2 cup to the batter white kneading due to stickiness]

2 teaspoons honey mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water

Set aside 1/4 cup rolled oats. Place the remaining oats into a medium bowl. Cover with boiling water. Mix with spoon to moisten all oats. Let bowl sit, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Place 1/4 cup of warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Let rest for 5 minutes. Add soaked oats, buttermilk, oil, brown sugar, both flours, and salt. With hook attachment, mix on low speed to combine, then increase speed to medium and mix for about 10 minutes [I did this by hand and need to develop better skills]. Dough will be wet and cling to hook, but have a satiny finish.

Place dough in an oiled bowl and over with plastic wrap. Proof in a warm area for about an hour, the dough will almost double in size [Mine took longer than this to proof, maybe around 2 hours, since it wasn't too hot in my apartment].

Place dough onto a floured surface and flatten it with your hands, releasing excess air bubbles. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Knead a few times to form each half into a ball and rest seam-side down on two sheets of parchment paper cut larger than the dough ball. Cover with lightly-oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.

While loaf is proofing, place your pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 400 F.

Remove plastic wrap and use a very sharp knife or razor to make 1/2″ deep cuts on the breads in a pattern of your choice. Use a brush to apply the honey and water mixture to the top of each loaf [you could also bake them separately if your stone is not large enough for both; in this case, wait until the first loaf has come out before prepping the second for the oven]. Sprinkle each with half of the remaining oats. Carefully transfer the parchment paper with the dough to the pizza stone [I slide the dough on parchment from a cookie sheet directly onto the pizza stone]. Bake for 40- 45 minutes, or until the top and sides of the loaf are a deep brown.

Remove the breads from the oven by grabbing onto the parchment and sliding the loaf on parchment onto your cookie sheet. Cool on a wire rack.

1 comment:

ashley (sweet & natural) said...

Hi Lynna - We DO have a lot in common! Sort of like reverse lives, huh? How do you like St. Louis?