Monday, January 26, 2015

Loafing around

Another weekend has passed, and as I've been trying to do more lately, we spent it doing very little "going out and living it up".  I'm getting more sedentary - I don't know if it's old age, winter, wanting to be a bit cheap, or just because I really enjoy a lot of the things that require just staying at home - the knitting, the cooking, the making of things like jellies and marmalades...

When friends were over recently and the topic of cooking and bread making came up, Brett mentioned I hadn't made bread in forever and that I had been in such a bread-making kick for a long time.  That's all it took to plant the seed - sometime soon I would be making bread!  And then with all the jellies etc I'd made recently, I thought it could be nice to enjoy them on something a bit more hearty!  Something with a little chew, some oaty-ness, know...just some good homemade bread!

With a little searching around the always reliable King Arthur Flour site I settled on their Old Fashioned Oatmeal Bread - only the recipe as-is makes only one loaf.  One of the neighbors told me she'd be bringing us some beef and veggie soup soon, and I figured it'd be nice to turn it into a bit of a food swap, so that would call for a second loaf.  Unfortunately, I didn't have exactly the ingredients called for with the KAF recipe, plus I knew I'd be doing a bit of tweaking based on recipe comments - like molasses can be known for it's bitterness, so I planned on combining honey plus some maple syrup I got off a coworker (her husband and his buddy make their own!!).  And then there was the realization that my jar of active dry yeast in the freezer was about empty, but I found an expired packet of quick rise.  So here's my ingredients list that you can compare with KAF's:

  • 2 cups oats (I briefly toasted 1 cup's worth in the oven)
  • 2 3/4 c boiling water
  • 3 c All Purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 c Bread flour
  • 3 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp quick rise yeast
  • 2 t table salt + 1 t sea salt (just to try it out)
  • 1/2 c instant dry milk
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c maple syrup

I followed all the instructions per the KAF recipe...only the ingredients were tweaked.  As you can see, my worries about the yeast situation being a problem was a non-issue - the dough rose really well at the back of the stove top (I had briefly turned on the oven below to let some heat rise up).  After doing the pokey pokey (seen below), the dough was cut in half, shaped into loaves, and set into greased pans to rise again.

Mmmmm - check these out!  Still warm, and just buttered (as recommended per the recipe to encourage the tops stay soft).

I was a little worried there might be a huge air pocket just under the surface of the loaves - probably due to my being out of practice with proper loaf shaping.  While there WAS a thin air pocket in each, it wasn't as bad as I feared.  It sure didn't affect the flavor, or toastability, in any way.  This bread is AWESOME!  In fact, while I don't usually think of Brett as much of a bread eater, he kept walking by snatching small pieces.  This is definitely a keeper - and I'll need to make some soon.  After splitting one loaf between a couple neighbors, and slicing the rest for us, we had it with breakfast, and for light snacks, and then Monday's lunch is going to be a PBJ (with strawberry lemon marmalade - mmm!  Sounds weird, but it's amazing!).  There's not much left to the loaf - maybe two sandwiches worth?

I love you bread!


Sue said...

Homemade bread is so awesome.
I spent last winter learning how to bake EVERYTHING we normally bought in the store. It was fun and knowing what ingredients were in there sure is a bonus.

Jeph said...

I need to bake more bread - I always forget how much we enjoy it, how flexible it is, etc. Then again, I suppose our waistlines are better off NOT having the constant source just waiting to be eaten. ;-)

Just saw your weather posting, and I'm jealous! Send it my way - I'll gladly take it.

I notice some of your postings are open to comment, and other times I can't find the "add comment" option. Is this something you do on a posting-by-posting basis?

Ur-spo said...

I think there is nothing more lovely than homemade bread.

Jeph said...

I suspect I'll be making more again soon. Surprisingly, there are three slices left from our loaf - and I'm not sure why. We were plowing through it, then stalled out. I think it's just proof that we're not normally big bread eaters, and that the batch of homemade stuff was a fun treat. Having pointed out we're not the biggest bread eaters, I go back to saying I suspect I'll be making more again soon. ;-)