Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread
I know, I know. Most whole wheat bread recipes are heavy, dense, and might take a bit of convincing for your kids to enjoy more than a little nibble. This lovely loaf is not only just that, lovely, but it is also soft and tasty and I promise your kids will enjoy it for toast, or for sandwiches. Or toasted sandwiches!
The dough comes together quickly and though the preferment (starter) has to sit for a while, the extra flavor boost you'll get from that long rest will be payment enough for your patience. As a suggestion, this recipe easily doubles, and you can slice and freeze any remaining bread once it has cooled. Then you can take a slice at a time whenever you need it.
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread
Yield: 1 loaf
2 cups water
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/8 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 cup flour
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 T veggie or olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Make the Preferment: In a large mixing bowl, combine the 2 cups water, oats, brown sugar, yeast and 2 cups flour until a soft and shaggy dough forms. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
Make the bread dough: About 2 hours before you are ready to make the bread, pull the preferment from the fridge to start to warm up.
In mixing bowl, combine 1 cup warm water, 1 tsp yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Let sit until foamy. Once foamy, add 2 T oil, and the preferment. Mix until combined. Add 2 1/2 tsp salt.
Add the yeast and flours, stirring to form a rough dough. Knead (about 10 minutes by hand, 5 to 7 minutes by machine) until the dough is smooth and satiny.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.
Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a loaf by patting the dough into a rectangle and then rolling it into a loaf shape. Place each of the loaves in two greased 9″ x 5″ bread pans.
Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap, and a kitchen towel to keep them cozy, and allow the loaves to rise until they’ve crowned about 1″ over the rim of the pan, about 60 to 90 minutes. This depends on the temperature of your kitchen, so after 60 minutes, just keep checking back. You'll know they are ready for the oven when you poke them lightly and the dent your finger makes stays 'dented'.
Bake the loaves in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove them from the oven when they’re golden brown, and the interior registers 190°F on a digital thermometer.
Turn the loaves out onto a rack to cool. Store at room temperature, well-wrapped, for several days; slice and freeze for longer storage.