100% Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread


Another bread I taught for the OSU Extension Service. This is a great use for leftover oatmeal.

Cook as you would for oatmeal porridge:
1 1/8 cups regular rolled oats
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
I do this in a crockpot overnight. Allow to cool to room temperature. If you are using leftover oatmeal, you need about 2 – 2 ¼ cups.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine:
cooked and cooled oatmeal (above)
¾ cup cold water
6 tablespoons sugar, (white, brown, or sucanat)
1/3 cup canola oil (you could substitute softened butter, if you prefer)
2 ½ teaspoons salt

In a medium bowl, stir together:
5 cups freshly ground whole hard white wheat flour (you will need additional flour while kneading)
2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast (Red Star Quick Rise or Bread Machine Yeast)

Add the flour/yeast mixture to the wet ingredients by the cupful, mixing to combine and then kneading until the gluten is fully developed and the dough passes the window pane (or membrane) test. You should be able to pull a small piece of dough into a thin sheet that is almost transparent without it tearing. This tells you the gluten is fully developed and strong enough to hold the gas bubbles in when the dough rises. This is how you get really light whole grain bread! In a heavy duty stand mixer this will take about 8 to 9 minutes on low speed. By hand it could take 15 to 20 minutes for a two-loaf recipe. Add an additional 1-1 ½ cups whole wheat flour as necessary while you knead. Don't add too much too soon. It takes a few minutes of kneading for the flour to absorb water from the oatmeal.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel or spray with oil spray to coat the top. Let rise at room temperature 1 to 1½ hours or until doubled in bulk. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface. Fold the top down, the bottom up and the sides in over each other one at a time. Turn the whole thing over and place it back in the bowl to rise a second time for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, spraying the top again lightly with oil. Divide into 2 loaves. Round, cover and let rest for 15 -20 minutes, then shape into loaves and place in 8 x 4 ½ pans. Cover and proof for about 30-45 minutes until the bread comes up to the edges of the pan and arches over the top. Slash top down the center if you like. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes until the bottom sounds hollow when thumped or an instant-read thermometer says 180 degrees in the center of the loaf.

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