I tend toward a low gluten diet, so bread is not something that I scarf down in large amounts on a regular basis. Every now and then, though, I do love to bake and eat bread.
While I’ve definitely become a devotee of the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day technique in recent months, this recipe for soft oatmeal bread is still among my absolute favorite yeast bead recipes.
I learned the method for making this bread, which utilizes leftover cooked grains, from a fellow named Jeff Basom. Jeff was the chef at Bastyr University when I was a naturopathic student (and his bread was so good that some of his recipes appear in the book Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods by Cynthia Lair).
I love making bread with cooked oats (you could also use cooked brown rice, millet, or quinoa) because it is a great way to use up leftovers, it adds additional nutrients, and the resulting loaf has a lovely soft and chewy texture. Because you need to ferment the oats and some of the flour overnight, be sure you plan accordingly when making this recipe. It’s not hard to make…it just takes a little time.
Oatmeal Bread Recipe
Yield: Makes 2 loaves
Ingredients for the oatmeal starter:
* 2 cups cooked oatmeal
* 2 cups water (or 1 cup water and 1 cup milk)
* 1/4 cup softened organic butter
* 1 tablespoon sea salt
* 1 tablespoon dry yeast
* 1 cup organic all-purpose unbleached flour or whole wheat flour
Preparation of the starter:
Mix oatmeal, water, milk (if using), butter, salt, and yeast in a blender and then pour into a large bowl. Add 1 cup of flour and mix well: it should resemble a thick gruel. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave for 12-24 hours at room temperature to ferment.
Ingredients for the bread:
* 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
* approx. 6 cups organic all purpose unbleached flour or whole wheat flour
Preparation of the bread:
1. After the 12-24 hours, mix the sweetener into the starter dough. Stir in 2 cups white or wheat flour.
2. As you add the remaining 4 cups of flour (more or less), the mixture will become too difficult to stir by hand, so you can either mix it in Kitchen Aid mixer with the bread dough hook, or you can use your hands to knead in the flour in the bowl. When most of the flour has been incorporated and the dough is no longer sticky, transfer it to a floured surface.
3. Knead the bread dough for 10-15 minutes more or until dough is soft and springy. Wash and dry your mixing bowl and spread with a little butter. Place dough into the bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
4. When dough has risen sufficiently, punch it down. Remove from the mixing bowl and divide the dough into two equal portions. Knead each ball a bit more and then place your dough into two bread pans, or shape as you like (I usually make mine into round/oval shapes) and place on lightly buttered cookie sheet. If you want to make smaller loaves instead, go ahead. If you make 2 loaves, they will be pretty large, so you could make 3-4 smaller ones instead.
5. It will take about 45-60 minutes for the loaves to approximately double in size, so you should preheat the oven to 350°F. about 30 minutes into this rising.
6. Slash the top of each loaf 3-4 times with a serrated knife (or make a criss-cross pattern, like I did) and then place in the oven. Bake anywhere from 25-50 minutes, depending on the size and shape of your loaves. The bread is done when golden brown and a tap on the bottom of each loaf makes a hollow noise.