If you were to come to my house and look through my fridge, freezer and pantry at any given time, you'd find a decent variety of meat, produce and dairy, and just about any baking supply you might possibly want to have on hand for a last minute batch of brownies, cookies or cupcakes. One thing you almost certainly wouldn't find? A loaf of bread. Shane eats an English muffin with peanut butter for breakfast every morning so you'd find those, and if it was summertime, there would likely be a few hamburger rolls in the freezer, but no sandwich bread. We're really not sandwich people, unless you're talking about grilled cheese, and that's really more of an occasional special treat than a weekly occurrence, so there's no reason to keep sandwich bread in the house.
All that said, I really enjoy making bread so from time to time when a recipe catches my eye I will bake a loaf. As soon as it's cool, I slice the bread then wrap the slices and stick them in the freezer. I'll either give them away to family or have toast for breakfast when there's nothing else in the house. This whole wheat oatmeal buttermilk bread has been on my radar for quite a while, and when I was house sitting for Shane's parents last month, I took the opportunity to give it a try and leave them a freezer full of bread when they returned.
This loaf of bread was unlike any I'd ever made, primarily for two reasons. First, oats are soaked and then added to the bread dough itself, so the bread has a really unique oatmeal flavor. Also, it's a giant loaf of bread - the pictures don't adequately do justice to just how big this loaf of bread was. It easily rose 4 or 5 inches above the top of the loaf pan as it baked. Every time I'd sneak over and turn the oven light on, I couldn't believe it was bigger than the last time I'd checked. So, needless to say, don't attempt to use an 8-inch loaf pan for this recipe :) The bread is incredibly tender with just a touch of sweetness, and was delicious toasted and spread with a bit of butter. If you are a sandwich person, it would probably make great sandwiches too. It's a hearty loaf of bread that's perfect for the cool fall temperatures that seem to have finally arrived here in New England.
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
barely adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride and Annie's Eats (originally from Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup room temperature water
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
Add 1 1/4 cups of the oats to a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over them and stir to combine. Let sit, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the soaked oats, room temperature water, 2 tablespoons of the honey, yeast, buttermilk, olive oil, both flours and the salt. Mix until a rough dough comes together, then switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 10 minutes. When the dough is ready it will have a satiny finish, but it will still be somewhat wet and will cling to the dough hook (if necessary, you can add slightly more flour to the dough).
Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray then add the dough, turning to coat. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until just about doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and press down to release excess air bubbles. Shape the dough into a 12x6-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you. Fold the sides in so they meet in the middle, then roll the dough into a log, starting with the end closest to you. Pinch the dough closed at the seam.
Spray a 10-inch loaf pan (or at least 9 inches, this is a big loaf of bread) with nonstick cooking spray. Add the dough to the pan, seam side down, pressing it into the corners. In a small bowl, mix the remaining teaspoon of honey with 1/2 teaspoon of hot water. Brush the mixture over the top of the loaf then sprinkle it with the remaining 1/4 cup of oats.
Let sit for about 30 minutes, or until the loaf rises just over the top of the pan. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F. Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature is about 200 F. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and turn the bread out. Let cool completely before slicing.