If I could sum up my mom’s side of our family in just a few words, it is that we all love eating bread. Okay, so we go deeper than that, but that’s just a little bit of insight into our food preferences. We typically scarf down Italian bread or some sort of doughy loaf, but a few months ago I decided I wanted to start making homemade sandwich bread and keep my freezer stocked.
Wouldn’t you know, right when I made this decision, my loaf pan bit the dust. It was a cheaply made pan that I had from our first year of marriage, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. But, it did delay my new ambition of bread making. I finally found a loaf pan I liked, with high ratings, and a decorative appearance. And, since my new purchase, I have made this loaf three times.
I really like this bread because it’s extremely hearty with a hint of sweetness from the small addition of honey and molasses. My favorite way to eat it is toasted with a slab of butter. But, I just love butter. I’m sure it’s great with jam, as grilled cheese, pressed into a panini sandwich, etc. It’s a very versatile bread, but I’ve been keeping it simple with this one for some reason. I’m sure I’ll branch out and try the other variations very soon.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Additional oats for topping the loaf (optional)
Lightly grease or butter a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
In a microwave safe measuring cup, heat the milk and water to about 115?F. Combine the water, milk, yeast, honey and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let stand 5 minutes until the mixture bloom-bubbles, to ensure the yeast is good.
Add the flours, oats, melted butter and salt to the liquid. Mix for 6 minutes on medium speed. The dough should climb the dough hook and slap around the sides of the bowl without sticking. If it is sticking, add a tablespoon or two more of flour at a time until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm area to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size. To test if it has proofed enough, gently poke the dough. If it springs back, the dough needs to proof longer. If a dimple remains, it’s ready.
To shape the loaf, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Shape into a square, then grab the top and bottom edges and fold together towards the center, meeting the edges in the middle. Pinch the seam and sides, sealing with your fingers. Roll the dough back and forth, into an even log and about the size of your bread pan. Gently place the dough into your bread pan, seam side down. Press the dough gently into the corners of the bread pan.
Cover the loaf with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. It will puff up over the edges of the pan. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400?F. If desired, sprinkle the top of the loaf with extra oats. If it is not sticking, lightly spray with water. Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The loaf is done baking when the crust is dark brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove the loaf from the pan and allow to completely cool in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan when fully cooled.