Maple Oatmeal Bread
On Saturday we had our first snowfall of the year (10 inches!) and it was the perfect day to stay inside and make bread. The forecast had originally called for less but it just kept snowing and snowing all day long. We had a potluck dinner scheduled at 6 PM and opted to walk the two miles in the snow rather than take our chances with driving. I was carrying a freshly baked loaf of Tartine country bread with me and it was still nice and warm once we arrived.
Earlier in the day I made this loaf of maple oatmeal bread which filled our apartment with an incredible smell. I think this would make a great breakfast bread or be perfect to toast and have as dessert. The maple syrup (you have to use the real stuff!) is the only liquid directly added to the dough but it doesn’t feel like you’re just biting into a loaf of maple syrup. The oatmeal adds a nice texture to the crumb and helps keep it moist.
This loaf requires a bit more time only because you have to let the oatmeal cool after cooking it. Otherwise the excessive heat would kill the yeast and you’d end up with a very sad loaf of bread. On a related note, not having to really worry about ingredient temperature is one of the reasons why I prefer instant yeast (also sold as rapid rise or bread machine yeast) to active dry yeast.
The yeast you buy in packets or jars at the store is inactive and needs to be put in liquid to get working. Active dry yeast requires that the liquid be warmed (but of course not too hot), whereas instant yeast will start doing its job even if mixed with cold water. So with instant yeast you don’t have to worry about warming up your water and wondering if you accidentally killed your yeast (I did this many times when I first made bread). If interested you can read more about yeast here. Meanwhile, I’ll go back to sitting here in a nice sunbeam on the couch next to this happy little tree.
- 2½ cups bread flour
- 1¼ cups boiling water
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
- Place the oats in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Mix briefly and then set aside for one hour. Let cool before proceeding with the rest of the dough.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer mix all ingredients (including the cooled oatmeal) and knead until the dough has softened and is pliable. This will take about 5-7 minutes on medium speed in a mixer, or 8-10 minutes by hand.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Butter and flour an 8x4 inch loaf pan and set aside.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat out to a rectangular shape. Roll up from the short end, creating a seam at the creases as you go. Place the rolled dough in the loaf pan seam side down.
- Cover and let rise until the dough crests the top of the pan, about 1 hour.
- Towards the end of the rise preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Bake the loaf for 45 minutes, until the top is a dark brown. Remove from the loaf pan and let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.