Well we were suddenly and rudely awakened by the screeching of our cats. We have a new cat, we named her Matilda and we are already in love. I had just been remarking to Billy how much easier this cat assimilation was compared to previous ones. There had been growling and hissing, but no fighting. The cats are now using the same box, and eating in the same room. I guess this morning Sweet Pea could take it no longer and she released “Devil Pea”! Our itty bitty Sweet Pea attacked strong stocky Matilda. I’m hoping we don’t suffer any setbacks.
Anyway, it’s cold outside eh? I just checked the map at Weather.com and it confirmed what I suspected, the entire nation is cold! I don’t know about you, but cold weather puts me in the mood to bake. Not just a quick batch of cookies but something that takes time, like bread! Bread isn’t hard to make, but it does require a time commitment, about 4 hours or so. This is my go to bread; it’s hearty (from oats and flax), sweet (from honey), soft (from milk and butter) and healthy (because of the oats, flax, and whole wheat flour). It has great taste and texture whether it’s eaten as is or toasted. This recipe makes two loaves because really if I’m gonna take all that time to make bread, do I just want one loaf?
Here’s what you do.
|Scald some milk; which means heat the milk without allowing it to boil.|
|Once the milk has scalded, add the oats, butter and all but about a teaspoon of the honey. Remove the pan from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool to warm, about 105 degrees.|
|While the yeast is proofing mix the whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, flax seed meal and salt. Did I mention that you need the dough hook attachment for the mixer?|
|Now that the yeast has proofed, stir it into the warm milk mixture.|
|Add the yeast and warm milk mixture to the bowl with the flour. Turn the mixer on low just to avoid the flour cloud; then once the flour is mixed in, turn the speed up to 2 or 3.|
|While the dough is mixing, oil up a large bowl.|
|This dough is too sticky, so I add the remaining all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time...|
|...Until it looks like this. The dough has formed a ball and no longer sticks to the side of the bowl.|
|Turn the dough into the oiled bowl, cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and then cover it with a towel. Put this in a draft free spot to rise. It will double in size, this takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.|
|While the dough is rising, grease two loaf pans with butter.|
|Look how pretty!|
|Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead it just to remove the air.|
|Form the dough into a ball and cut it in half.|
|Form each half into a loaf that will fill the bottom of the loaf pan.|
|Put the loaves into the greased pans, seam side down. Cover loosely with the towel and allow the bread to rise in a draft free spot...|
|...Until it has once again, doubled in size; about 1 hour. *When the bread has been rising for about 40 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.|
|Gently brush egg wash on the risen loaves.|
|Sprinkle just a few rolled oats over the top to make it pretty.|
|Bake the loaves for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are golden and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom (you will have to remove one of the loaves from the pan to do the sound test).|
|Allow the bread to cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then remove the loaves from the pan and cool completely on a rack before storing in an air tight container.|
Makes 2 loaves
2 cups Milk
1 cup Old fashioned rolled oats (plus a little more for sprinkling on the bread)
½ cup Honey
¼ cup Butter (1/2 stick), (plus more softened butter to grease the loaf pans)
½ cup Warm water, between 105 and 115 degrees.
2 Tbsp. Active dry yeast (3 packages)
3 cups Whole wheat flour
2 cups All- purpose flour
1/3 cup Flax seed meal
1 Tbsp. Salt
Canola Oil, to oil the bowl
1 Egg, slightly beaten with a splash of water
1. Heat the milk to scalding in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium low heat; do not allow it to boil.
2. When the milk is good and hot add the oats, 1/4 cup butter and all but 1 teaspoon of the honey (reserve that honey). Give it a stir and remove it from the heat to cool until it’s just warm, about 105 degrees.
3. Once the milk has cooled stir together the warm water, 1 teaspoon of the reserved honey, and the yeast in a small bowl. Allow to proof (let it stand) for about 5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer stir together the whole wheat flour, only 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, flax seed meal and the salt.
5. Stir the proofed yeast into the warm milk mixture.
6. Pour the yeast, milk mixture into the bowl with the flour.
7. Fit the dough hook into the mixer and turn the mixer onto low, then once the flour is incorporated turn the speed up to number 2 or 3, scrape the sides of the bowl down at least once.
8. If the dough is sticky and not coming into a ball, then add ½ cup more all-purpose flour. If it still doesn’t come together into a ball, add the remaining ½ cup of flour.
9. As soon as the dough comes into a ball and stops sticking to the sides of the mixer stop mixing.
10. Transfer the dough into a large bowl that has been oiled. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap, cover with a clean lint free towel; leave it in a warm place to rise, until the dough has doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
11. Grease 2 loaf pans with butter.
12. Turn the risen dough out on to a floured surface; knead several times to remove the air.
13. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a loaf, place each loaf into a loaf pan with the seam side down. Cover the pans with the towel and allow the dough to rise again, until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
14. After the loaves have been rising for about 40 minutes, turn the oven on to preheat to 375 degrees.
15. Lightly brush the tops of the risen loaves with the egg wash, and sprinkle a little rolled oats.
16. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are golden and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom (you will have to remove one of the loaves from the pan to do the sound test).
17. Allow the bread to cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then remove the loaves from the pan and cool completely on a rack before storing in an air tight container.
Alternate Instructions - No Mixer
In step 4 add the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Steps 5 & 6 remain the same.
Ignore step 7, 8 & 9. Instead of mixing with the mixer, you will stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out on to a well-floured surface, and knead with flour on your hands. If necessary add a little of the remaining 1 cup of all-purpose flour at a time to until the dough stops sticking and forms a ball. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Pick it up in step 10.