Saturday, April 07, 2012

Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread


I saw a handsome loaf of oatmeal bread at Sun Street Breads, one of the best bakeries in Minnneapolis. I almost bought a loaf, and then I remembered that I was supposed to be a bread baker, and I hadn't baked a loaf of bread in a long time. I had some buttermilk, left over from another project, in the refrigerator, so I decided it would be an oatmeal buttermilk bread.

A nice thing about baking yeast bread with buttermilk is that you can just substitute it ounce-for-ounce for milk, and you'll get a similar, but slightly tangier, result. (Things are trickier when you try to substitute it for milk in a quick bread--you have to decrease the baking powder and increase (or add) baking soda).


As I was making this bread, and marveling over how the oatmeal changed from big rough flakes to a porridge-like consistency after just a brief soak in water, I wondered why I'd never made oatmeal before. But the search function on my blog showed me that I had--twice, in fact.

The first time I made it, back in 2007, I was inspired by Rose's mention of Jeffrey Hamelman's oatmeal bread, which she made for her father. I couldn't find Hamelman's recipe, so I made a different version, which gave me no end of trouble. I ended up with a sadly misshapen loaf, and complained bitterly about the ends, which looked like, I said, giant belly buttons. Then, a few months later, I made a different version that Rose had on her blog--one with honey and flaxseed. I was pleased with that one.


Now, five years later, I own the Jeffrey Hamelman book, Bread, that has the recipe Rose used for her father's birthday, and which inspired me in the first place. The up side of having an increasingly faulty memory is that so many things come as surprises! If I'd remembered this whole series of events when I first got Hamelman's book, I probably would have just made the oatmeal bread then (without buttermilk, since his recipe calls for sweet milk), and I wouldn't have been so delighted to find out that I'd finally made the bread I was trying to make way back when. Now I'm not only happy with the bread, I'm happy to discover that it's apparently been on my to-do list for five years.


I can see why Rose's father liked this bread so much. It's very likeable. Excellent as a sandwich bread, it really shines as toast. So much so that my groan when my alarm clock goes off at 6:00 soon turned to a smile, and I jumped out of bed: toast for breakfast! Yay!

Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread
adapted from Bread, by Jeffrey Hamelman.

1 lb, 10 oz. bread flour
6 oz. whole-wheat flour
5.3 oz. rolled oats
2 cups water
1 cup buttermilk
2.4 oz. (3T) honey
2.4 oz. (5 1/2 T)canola oil
.7 oz (3 1/2 tsp.) salt
.18 oz. (1 1/2 tsp) instant dry yeast

Place the oats in a mixing bowl. Add the water, and let stand for 15 or 20 minutes to soften. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed for 3 minutes until thoroughly mixed. Turn the mixer to medium-low and mix for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Let rise for one hour. Fold the dough once during this rising, using a letter-style fold.

Divide the dough in half and shape into loaf pans. Brush the tops of the bread lightly with water, and press oatmeal gently onto the tops of the loaves. Cover the loaves, and let rise for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, using a pizza stone if possible, and preheating the stone as well. Put 1/2 cup ice cubes on a preheated tray or pan in the oven, and put the loaves on the stone (or on the oven rack). After 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake 30 to 40 minutes.

16 comments:

ButterYum said...

My favorite dinner rolls contain oatmeal and I love the light texture and flavor it provides so I'm sure this bread is a keeper.

ANU said...

wow this is an awesome healthy bread ...

breadbasketcase said...

ButterYum,
Oh, good idea--I'll bet this dough would make excellent dinner rolls.

ANU,
Yes it seemed healthy to me, too--enough whole grain that I didn't feel guilty about increasing slightly the ratio of white flour to whole wheat flour.

Melinda said...

I wanted to make an oatmeal loaf about a month ago. I didn't have any wholemeal flour in the house, so gave up the idea. I even searched through your blog for the oatmeal loaf recipe you used and looked at your belly button loaf. I had a good laugh all over again, like it was the first time. My memory loss amuses me quite often this way.
I still want to make that oatmeal loaf. I still need to get some wholemeal flour. Someday the two will merge!

breadbasketcase said...

Melinda,
I see that when we're in the home (which will happen to me much sooner than to you, of course) we will both be easily amused by things that we've forgotten! It's nice to have something to look forward to, even though I'll have forgotten what it is by this afternoon.

Melinda said...

If I have to go into a home, can we at least go to the same one? I am sure I would enjoy it much more.

breadbasketcase said...

Yes, that would be fun. Wheelchair races, anyone?

Anonymous said...

"The up side of having an increasingly faulty memory is that so many things come as surprises!"

Ah. a Marie post. Always good to read what you are up to. The bread looks great and I hope all is well (and that you remember me).

Smiles,
Laura NYC

doughadear said...

Marie,
Looking forward to toast in the morning from homemade bread must be a bread bakers thing. When I bake a bread I know will make great toast I can't wait to have it for breakfast. Your bread looks like an exceptionally good one.

breadbasketcase said...

Laura,
I'm not so far gone that I don't remember you!

Oriana,
Yes, you're right--and if a bread is good both as toast and freshly made, it's a winner!

Stephanie said...

This looks delicious! It's been far too long since I've made oatmeal buttermilk bread. I'll have to give this recipe a try

immigration lawyers said...

I think everyone can make it because it is easy to prepare and the ingredients are very common. And the main ingredients which is oatmeal is the highlight of the recipe because it is one of the healthy food.

John said...

I'm attempting this recipe for the third time. The first time was a colossal flop. (I didn't understand how active dry yeast was supposed to work. The second time worked pretty well. My question is: Is the dough supposed to resemble more of a batter than play dough consistency? It seems really wet, and yes, I did take into account the 3/4 cup of water used to activate the yeast and took it from the water used to soften the oatmeal. Just so I'm clear, 1 lb 10 oz of bread flour comes out to about 3 1/4 cups and and 6 oz of whole-wheat flour comes out to 3/4 of a cup, right? Math was never my subject. :)

breadbasketcase said...

John,
Sorry to be late in answering--I've been on vacation. The problem is in the amount of flour. One pound 10 ounces is more like 5 1/2 to 6 cups, and the whole wheat flour is probably more than a cup. But I really like to use weight rather than volume, and I encourage you to get a scale for making bread. You don't have to spend a lot of money, but it's so much more accurate (and easier!) that you'll love it. If you don't want to get a scale, there are a lot of web sites that help you figure out how many ounces are in a cup of flour. (Math isn't my strong suit either).
The bread dough should be a dough-like consistency, not a batter. I'm sorry that you've had trouble with this bread, because it's really a lovely bread.

IdaBaker said...

This looks yummy, golden brown, and very healthy.

a10er said...

I tried the bread recipe this week. I used milk, which I heated and let cool, but otherwise stuck to what's here. Bread turned out great. It's got a really great crumb and is soft and tasty. Next time I'll increase the salt a bit for more flavor. Great recipe. Thanks so much.