Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fresh Baked Bread - It's Easier Than You Think!

I've always been afraid of baking bread. Dealing with yeast, kneading and rounds of rising. Seemed like a lot of work with a high risk of something going awry. So I've left it to the experts - until now. What changed my mind? Well, I was at my Aunt Angie's house a couple of weekends ago and she had made this Oatmeal Bread that was amazing. So amazing that I was finally willing to take the plunge and try it myself. When she mailed me the recipe, I looked it over and saw how few ingredients there were and thought, "I actually might not screw this up!" So I bought the ingredients and blocked out Sunday to give it a try. Turns out, it was one of the easiest things I've ever made. I was shocked and mad at myself for waiting so long to jump in and get my hands doughy. Don't be a wimp like me. If you've never baked bread before, this is a great place to start. Simple recipe and the dough is very "forgiving," as they say. The intoxicating smell that permeates your house when the bread is baking is more than worth the price of admission. And of course the taste is heavenly as well. A little crunch on the "oatside" and soft on the inside. It's such a gratifying feeling to take a warm bread out of the oven that you made from scratch. I have to say I was pretty proud. Thank you, Aunt Angie, for the wonderful recipe and for curing me of my bread phobia.

Aunt Angie's Oatmeal Bread

• 2 cups water
• 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (steel cut oats will do the trick)
• 3 tbsp butter
• 1 package dry yeast
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 5 cups flour

Note: I used 3 loaf pans - 2 10x4.5 and 1 8.5X4.5

How to:
- Bring water to a boil. Add butter and oats. Stir in 2 minutes. Cool to lukewarm.
- When oats are cool, combine with 4 cups of the flour, salt and brown sugar.
- Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1 tbsp sugar. Let rise about 10 minutes.
- Add risen yeast to cooled oats and mix well.
- Knead. It will be very sticky so add as much of the 5th cup of flour to make a nice smooth dough.
- Place in greased bowl. Turn to coat both sides. Cover and let rise in warm place for 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough and form into 3 loaves. Place loaves in pans and let rise again for 45 minutes. Pans should be greased (with butter or shortening).
- Bake loaves in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Test with toothpick to be sure they are cooked. Toothpick should come out clean not doughy.

Slice, butter and enjoy!

Risen loaves ready for baking.


Anonymous Donna said...

One of the many amazing things Aunt Angie does is bake this bread. It's her signature food and she's very proud of it. Thanks for sharing.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I decided to make bread for the very first time tonight, and I decided to use this recipe. Let me tell you, it was deeelicious. It complimented the slow-cooked beef stew perfectly. Even my niece, who is not a fan of bread, loved it. Thank you for posting this recipe. It really made our meal.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Family Best said...

Thanks for the recipe it was just what I was searching for on the Internet! I will have to keep up with your blog!


2:55 PM  

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