Sunday, December 2, 2007
Rose mentioned making Jeffrey Hammelman's oatmeal bread for her father a few weeks ago, and that mention made me want to make a loaf myself. I googled "Jeffrey Hammelman's oatmeal bread" in hopes of finding the recipe, but no luck. I checked it on Amazon.com, where I was able to open the book on line and actually find the recipe, but it makes about 40 or 50 loaves, which was about 39 or 49 more than I wanted. We were in the middle of a blizzard, so I couldn't run out to a bookstore and find the book, so I had to give up (temporarily, at least) on making that particular oatmeal bread.
I found one in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison, one of my favorite cookbooks. It seemed simple enough. I modified it a little to include some white whole wheat flour, which I've been wanting to try, and I used some organic five-grain cereal mix instead of oatmeal, but it's basically one of those recipes where you just dump everything in, mix it up, and let it rise.
I hated this dough. I couldn't get it right. I'd add a little more flour, and it became a hard, tough, rock-like ball. I'd add a little more milk or water, and it just became gluey. It was also exceedingly ugly. The recipe calls for a cup of wheat bran, which made the dough a particularly disgusting shade of brown. I also had a hard time shaping it, so that both ends looked like massive belly buttons.
Still, I persevered. I let it rise three times, twice in the bowl and once in the pan, instead of the two times specified in the original recipe. The extra rising seemed to aerate it enough so that it was not just a leaden mass. In fact, despite its not-at-all promising beginnings, it was actually quite good. The repulsive brown became a lovely golden tan, and the oatmeal mixture that I rolled the dough in gave it a rustic prettiness and a nice crunch.
I don't know about Jeffrey Hammelman's oatmeal bread, but Deborah Madison's is the ugly duckling of breads.
1 1/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup honey
2 T. butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats or five-grain cereal mix (first ingredient should be oats)
1 cup wheat bran
1 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t. instant yeast
1 1/2 t. salt
Additional oats for top
1. Warm milk, butter, and honey together. Set aside.
2. Mix flours, oats, bran, and yeast in mixing bowl with dough hook.
3. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture.
4. Add salt.
5. Knead for at least five minutes in mixer or by hand. Dough is supposed to be firm but a little tacky, although it might be unpromising at this point.
6. Put dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
7. When dough doubles in size, put it onto a floured counter, stretch into a rectangle, and give it a business letter turn.
8. Let it rise again until doubled, 45 minutes to an hour.
9. Preheat oven to 375 (350 convection).
10. Shape dough into loaf, and roll with additional oats or cereal mixture. Put in loaf pan until doubled.
11. Bake about 40 minutes, turning the pan after 20 minutes.
12. Turn loaf onto rack and let cool. (If oats fall off the top of the loaf, just scoop them up and pat them back on top).