Saturday, June 11, 2011

Oatmeal Bread

I can sometimes get very discouraged about bread in Holland. There are a couple of good bakers in Amsterdam, such as Hartog and Vlaamsche Broodhuis, but most bread in supermarkets and even ordinary bakers is soft and squishy, no matter what the colour, grain, or the number of seeds in it.

So today I decided to make my own bread again. I dug into one of my new cookbooks and came up with Oatmeal Sandwich Bread. This recipe produces a very soft, sticky dough so it is not well suited to hand kneading. Instead, I put the apple-green machine to work.

The recipe calls for the mixed ingredients, except the salt, to rest for half an hour to autolyse. It lets the flour absorb more moisture and produce a moister loaf. It certainly seems to work, producing a large, flavourful loaf with a good crumb. It slices easily and does indeed work well for sandwiches.

The loaf is very large, rising well over the pan. I think I might split the dough into two smaller pans next time.

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
Adapted from Good to the Grain

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
3 tablespoons molasses (I used Zeeuwse stroop, which is as near as I can get here)
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose four
1 cup rolled oats (I had a mixture of fine and large rolled oats)
2 ounces butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine the warm water and molasses in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir until most of the molasses is dissolved, then mix in the yeast. Let sit to proof the yeast for about 5 minutes, until the yeast has bloomed.
  2. Add the melted butter, flour, and oats (but not the salt) to the yeast mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon. Let rest for half an hour.
  3. Add the salt and using the dough hook, mix the dough for 6 minutes on medium. The dough is moist and will slap around the sides without sticking too much. If it does stick, add a tablespoon of flour until the dought comes away from the sides. at the end, to quote: "The dough should be s0ft and supple, slightly tacky,with a beautiful sheeting effect."
  4. Butter a bread loaf pan.
  5. Scrape the dough onto a floured surface and knead it a few times. Butter a large bowl (I just did a cursary rinse and oil of the mixing bowl), cover, and let rise in a warm place for an hour, until doubled in size.
  6. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, shaping it into an oblong form about the size of the loaf pan,  squeezing out the air. Shape it into a loaf by folding it over and pinching the edges together to form a seam. Fold under the ends, roll it around a bit, then put it into the buttered pan with seam side down. Let rise for another hour. During that time, preheat the oven to 400 F. 
  7. Bake for 40 minutes until the top is dark and it sounds hollow when thumped. (I baked it for closer to 50 minutes, and even then it did not turn as dark brown as the picture in the cookbook).

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