Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super-Tangy Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread: A Recipe

Super-Tangy Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread

I've made this a few times now; the first time was just to get rid of some buttermilk no one was drinking, the next couple of times were because I liked it. It's a very approximate sort of recipe, particularly when it comes to flour. I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, you might like more; I think it could go as high as 1 1/2 Tablespoons without really slowing the rise down.

2 Cups rolled oats
4 Cups all purpose white flour
4-5 Cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 C buttermilk
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 C molasses OR 1/4 C brown sugar OR 1/4 C honey (slightly different tastes; pick which you prefer; it won't be a dominant note in the bread in any case)

1) Pour the oats into the bowl and put the buttermilk in right after; let it sit a while so the buttermilk can soak into the oats a bit (This is instead of the boiling water routine most oat breads call for).

2) Add the yeast; stir it in.

3) Add 1 C flour; stir it in.

4) Add the butter and the rest of the flour. Stir the flour in until it gets too stiff to stir, then knead until you have a soft dough. So far, I've kept it on the sticky side--a handle-with-the-heels-of-the-hand type dough that holds its shape. You can add more flour if you want a smoother dough.

Here, in case you hadn't noticed, is where the recipe gets really approximate. I've never actually measured the flour. I think it comes to around 6 or 7 cups to make a sticky but manageable dough; it may be more; some day, I may measure (or, if you do, you can tell me). I have been adding about half whole wheat, about half white. A greater proportion of white flour makes for a less-sticky dough, a higher rise, and a softer loaf; a greater proportion of wheat flour means a flatter, coarser loaf that is more nutritious and has a somewhat nuttier flavor; choose based on what you like and/or what you happen to have on hand.

5) Let the dough rise until double in size; this takes about an hour and a half in a comfortably warm room, much longer in a colder room (like last night, rainy, chilly weather meant dough that took forever to rise!)

6) Shape into two more-or-less smooth oblongs and place in bread pans.

7) Let rise until approximately double (anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, or more, depending on room temp).

8) Preheat oven to 375.

9) Pop the dough in, turn the oven down to 350.

10) Bake for 35-40 minutes. When the loaf makes a hollow "Thwock" sound when you flick the bottom with your fingernail, it's done.

11) Enjoy!

The bread has a lot more buttermilk than usual in buttermilk recipes, so it is super tangy. It has more oats, too, which gives it a lovely texture.

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