Recipe: Maple Oatmeal Bread — September BOM

The September BOM (bread of the month) for the Facebook Artisan Bread Bakers group is Maple Oatmeal Bread, a recipe posted by Floyd at The Fresh Loaf. This is an easy and delicious recipe. It comes together quickly with ingredients you most likely have on hand.

 

Maple Oatmeal Bread

Makes 2 loaves

2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
1 package dry yeast
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon oil
5 cups flour

  1. Put the oats into a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the oats and set aside for an hour.
  2. Mix the yeast, syrup, salt, and oil into the oats. Mix in 3 cups of the flour. Cover the bowl and let rise for an hour.
  3. Add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is the correct consistency. Knead for 10 minutes. Cut the dough into two pieces, then shape it into loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise another 45 minutes.
  4. Bake at 350 for 40 – 50 minutes.

While the oats soaked in the water, I assembled the remaining ingredients. I substituted instant yeast for the active dry yeast. Referring to my yeast conversion chart, I knew I needed just shy of two teaspoons of instant yeast. I mixed the dough, which was very wet, as it initially had only three of the five cups of flour in it.

I set the dough aside to rise for an hour. I was surprised that it didn’t rise very much, maybe by about 40-50%, but I decided to move forward with the recipe as written.

After the dough rested for an hour, I mixed in the remaining flour, one-half cup at a time. However, after mixing in the remaining two cups of flour, the dough was still quite wet. I decided to add extra flour as I kneaded the bread. I kneaded in flour — a lot of flour. I didn’t measure it, but I would guess I kneaded in at least an additional two cups of flour. I reread the recipe several times to try to figure out what happened, but I’m sure I followed the recipe to the letter.

Even after adding so much flour, the dough was quite wet. I was able to shape it into loose loaves and transfer them to the pans before they spread too much.

After 45 minutes proofing time, the loaves hadn’t risen much, so I expected quite a bit of oven spring. I might have let them proof longer, but it was late, and I wanted to bake the dough and get to bed.

As you can see from the picture at the top of the post, the loaves rose quite a bit in the oven, which indicates to me that they were underproofed going in. The next time I bake this bread, in addition to cutting back the water by 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup, I will allow the dough to ferment and proof until it nearly doubles.

Despite the issues I had with this recipe, the result was worth the effort. As you might imagine, the maple smell while the bread baked was amazing. It even drew my 13-year-old out of her “cave”! The bread was delicious fresh from the oven, the crumb was soft and slightly sweet, and the crust had just a bit of crunch to it.

But it was the next morning when this bread really started to shine. It made the most amazing toast. Slathered in butter and smelling of warm maple syrup, it was all I could do not to eat an entire loaf for breakfast.

This is definitely a recipe worth making again, even if it might take a little experimentation to get it just right.

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Struan Upon the Waters — Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire

Here we are, rapidly approaching the halfway mark in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, and I’m still enjoying the ride. Even though I have been baking bread for more years than I care to admit, I continue to learn as I work my way through the recipes in Peter Reinhart‘s excellent book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

I was really excited about this week’s bread, Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire, as it is one of Peter’s signature breads, a version of which has appeared in several of his books. I’m not exactly sure why he renamed it — it was always called Struan before — but it’s basically the same bread, which I have wanted to make since reading Bread Upon the Waters. As the new name implies, this bread is chock full of grains, some of which aren’t generally used in bread baking. Having experimented with my own multigrain bread, Five Grain Seeded Sourdough, I was anxious to try Peter’s recipe.

As with many multigrain breads, including mine, this recipe begins with a soaker. The night before I made the bread, I put the cornmeal, wheat germ and oatmeal in a small bowl, added a little bit of water and covered the bowl with plastic wrap. The recipe called for wheat bran, but all I had on hand was wheat germ. I did an online search to try to determine how different the two really were. I learned that germ is the center of the wheat kernel, whereas bran is the outer husk. Beyond that, the information was confusing and conflicting. Some sites said that the two could be interchanged, while others stated that the difference between them was like that of an egg yolk to the eggshell. Armed with this lack of agreement, I went ahead and used the wheat germ for the recipe.

The next morning, I prepared my rice. Here, again, I had a slight departure from the recipe. I didn’t have any brown rice and didn’t feel like running out for it. So I called a friend of mine who was coming over and asked him to bring me some brown rice. As it turns out, he didn’t have any either. Instead, he brought me red rice. Never having eaten, let alone cooked with red rice, I went back to the ‘net, this time finding that red rice is cooked in the same manner as brown rice.

Now, that created a problem for me, as I have never had any luck cooking brown rice. It either comes out crunchy or as 1 big pasty lump. I did a search for how to correctly cook brown rice and found that our own Nicole, of Pinch My Salt fame, had a blog entry with directions for perfectly cooked brown rice. I knew I needed look no further. If Nicole said it worked, that was good enough for me. I followed her directions, and 40 minutes later, had perfectly cooked red rice.

Red Rice Boiling

Red, Red Rice

After the rice cooled, I mixed the dough. I began by putting the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Then I added the soaker and rice.

Mixing Straun

I began mixing the dough, which was quite sticky. It did not clear the bowl at all, and I knew it would need more flour. I added a few small scoops of flour. As they mixed in, I liked the look of the red rice in the dough but felt like it could use more. I had another ounce or so of rice left (about what I had put in to begin with), and I went ahead and added it all. Then I continued to add more flour until the bread had the right feel — tacky but not sticky. After about 10 minutes of mixing in the Kitchen Aid, I took the dough out of the bowl and kneaded it for a few minutes on the counter.

Straun Dough

I put the dough in a bowl to ferment, and about 75 minutes later, it had doubled and was ready for shaping.

Straun Doubled

I patted the dough out into an oval.

Patting out Straun

Then rolled it into a loaf and panned it.

Rolled Straun    Panned Straun

I then misted the dough with water and sprinkled it with poppy seeds.

Sprinkling on Poppy Seeds

I let the loaf proof for about 90 minutes, then baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until it registered 185 degrees on my instant read thermometer. I took the loaf out of the pan to cool on a rack.

It smelled amazing — warm, yeasty, and a bit like molasses. In fact, I would say the smell reminded me quite a lot of Anadama Bread, the first BBA Challenge bread. Even though the Struan loaf had honey and brown sugar in it, I hadn’t really anticipated that it might have a sweet taste to it. Smelling it, I couldn’t imagine what the flavor would be like.

 Straun

One interminable hour later, I sliced the loaf. The crumb was beautiful – soft and light. And the taste really did remind me of Anadama bread. A bit milder, but really delicious. This would make an excellent sandwich bread and would also be great for morning toast and tea.

Straun Crumb

This is certainly a bread to make again. The only changes I might make next time would be to omit the poppy seeds on the top of the loaf — there’s nothing wrong with them, they just don’t seem to add anything to the bread. And I would make a double batch next time. This bread is just too good to only have one loaf at a time.