The thought of making my own sandwich bread never really occurred to me, and when it did, all I could think was that it would be more effort than it was worth. After all, the local grocery store has quite the panoply of breads to choose from every week.
But then I came across this post from “Smitten Kitchen” and immediately had to try it because it just sounded so healthy and wholesome. As it turns out, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, and the result when toasted with a little dollop of butter ended up having a texture and flavor that I would not have dreamed bread could have. Now the only trouble is that I’m going through it so quickly! Thank goodness the recipe yield two loaves.
5 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats (I used Quaker oats)
1 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
3 tablespoons raw or brown sugar, honey or agave nectar (I like the honey)
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus a little more to coat bowl
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk, any kind
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
Make bread dough:
- In the bottom of large mixing bowl, combine water, milk and sugar or honey, then stir in yeast. Add egg and oil and whisk until combined. Add flour, oats and salt and if mixing with a machine, combine with paddle attachment at the lowest speed for 1 minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for 1 minute. The dough will be wet and coarse, let it rest for 5 minutes.
- If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix the dough on medium-low for 2 more minutes. By hand, do the same with your spoon. The dough will seem firm and more smooth, ideally supple and sticky, but if it’s still very wet, add a bit more flour, a spoonful at a time. If it seems excessively stiff, add a little more water, a spoonful at a time. Continue to mix with dough hook or by hand for 4 minutes.
- Scrape dough out onto lightly floured counter. Knead a few times, then form the dough into a ball. Oil your empty mixing bowl and return dough to it. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof at room temperature for 60 to 70 minutes, or until doubled in buik or transfer to the fridge and let it ferment overnight or up to 5 days. If proofing in the fridge, remove the dough before the fridge about 3 hours before you plan to bake it.
- Turn dough onto a floured counter and divide it into two equal pieces. Press each gently into a rough rectangle-ish shape.
- Fold in sides so that the first dough is roughly the width of your bread loaf pan (about 9 inches).
- Roll from bottom to top and then put this log into your bread loaf pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough. (This is really important as otherwise your bread will rise lopsidedly and then you’ll have delicious but highly irregularly sized bread which is not great for sandwiches.)
- Let proof at room temperature for about an hour, or until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of the baking pan. Halfway through, heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- For 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pans once for even color. (Then again, I forgot to do this and it turned out beautiful anyways.)
- The internal temperature should read 190 degrees F. Remove loaves from tins and let cool on a rack. If you’re planning to freeze bread, let it cool completely before slicing it.
From Smitten Kitchen, Oat and wheat sandwich bread.