In preparation for the upcoming arrival of our second child, I have been cooking and baking like mad to ensure that we have plenty of sandwich bread and quick meals at our fingertips once the craziness that defines life with a newborn begins again! I far and above prefer homemade sandwich bread to store-bought and have been baking a few loaves of this buttermilk bread in addition to a few others a couple days each week. One of these loaves has been this beautiful, delicious oatmeal bread.
Now, Matthew is a huge carb lover and always begs to have the first slice of bread hot out of the oven (surprisingly, he really does not get that you have to let bread cool to room temperature despite all the lectures I have given him about structural integrity of gluten development!). If I had to choose a single loaf of bread that he liked best, it would be this oatmeal bread. It is mildly chewy, hearty, and slightly sweet and makes the ideal PB&J sandwich for my active little guy. Plus, it is probably one of the easiest homemade breads you can ever make!
The original recipe does call for rolled oats and they do work best. However, I have substitute quick oats before and while they definitely change the texture of the finished bread, the loaf was still delicious and held up well to slicing. You can also switch out the sweetener for whatever type you like - honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, white sugar, corn syrup, molasses - whatever you have! My personal favorite version is using honey as the sweetener and adding a very finely diced, peeled apple to the dough. Seriously yum!
Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
adapted from Nick Magieri's How to Bake
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup warm water (about 110º on an instant read thermometer)
2 1/2 teaspoons dry active or instant yeast
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweetener of choice (brown sugar, honey, etc)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into about 12 pieces, plus more for greasing bowl and pan
Grease a 8 1/2" x 4 1/4" loaf pan with butter and set aside.
Pour boiling water over oats in a bowl. Stir and set aside till cooled to room temperature. Meanwhile, put warm water in a small bowl and add yeast. Stir and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, brown sugar and salt and stir to combine. Fit mixer with dough hook and add oatmeal, yeast mixture and butter pieces. Knead dough on low for about 5-10 minutes till smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed so the dough is not too sticky. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a ball on a lightly floured countertop. Place dough in greased bowl, flip a couple times to coat all sides with butter, and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise till dough doubles in bulk, about one hour (While making the dough, I like to preheat my oven to 200 degrees, let it warm for 10 minutes, and then shut it off. When the dough is ready to rise, just stick it in the warmed oven and it will rise beautifully and quickly!).
Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured work surface. Deflate dough with the palm of your hand. Form dough into rectangle, slightly longer than pan length. Using the end closest to you, roll tightly into a cylinder, pressing on the seam with your fingertips as you roll it up. Pinch the seam and ends together after rolling and place the cylinder, seam side down, into prepared pan. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise till doubled, about an hour.