Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal--janessweets.blogspot.com--January 2011

(This recipe is adapted from the King Arthur Flour oatmeal sandwich bread that can be found on their site, at this link: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/oatmeal-bread-recipe.)

Hearty Oatmeal Bread with Walnuts and Sweet Dried Cherries

 

Makes one standard size loaf.

 

3 and 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour (divided use)

1 cup old fashioned oats, pulsed (on and off) in a food processor for 30 seconds

2 Tbsp. flax meal (Easy to find in health food stores, and some grocery stores. If you don't have it, or prefer not to buy it, you could substitute an equal amount of whole wheat flour, ground oats, or bread flour.)

3 Tbsp. light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 and 1/4 tsp. coarse kosher salt

2 and 1/4 tsp. instant yeast (I use SAF brand instant yeast; they sell it in health food stores, from King Arthur Flour, and I've seen it at Whole Foods. You don't have to proof instant yeast and it's very reliable.)

3/4 cup warm milk

1/2 cup warm water

3 Tbsp. soft unsalted butter

1/2 cup well-chopped walnuts

1/2 cup well-chopped dried cherries, loosely packed

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, to brush on the top of the unbaked and just-baked loaf

 

In a large mixer bowl, by hand, whisk together 3 cups of the flour (reserving 3/4 cup), the ground oats, flax meal, sugar, salt, yeast, nuts, and cherries. Put the bowl on the mixer and, using the flat beater on the lowest speed, add in the milk, water, and butter. Mix for a minute or two to combine, until the dough looks shaggy.  

 

Turn the mixer off, clean the dough off of the flat beater, and switch to the dough hook. Mix on the lowest speed using the hook for 2 minutes.

Dump the shaggy dough onto a well-floured surface (use your leftover 3/4 cup flour). It should be pretty moist; if it's not very moist, use less flour on your work surface.

Knead the dough by hand for about 4 minutes, until it feels relatively smooth and elastic.

 

Put the dough into a greased (or sprayed with vegetable spray) bowl. Cover it with a greased/sprayed piece of plastic wrap, then cover the top of that with a dish towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot and let it rise until almost doubled (from about 60 to 75 minutes).

 

Meanwhile, grease one 9"x5" standard-size loaf pan. Take the risen dough from its bowl, and deflate it on your work surface by pressing on it with your palms/knuckles. Use as little flour as you can get away with to keep it from sticking (excess flour added at this point does nothing good for the dough). Pick the dough up and gently round it; you want to create a bit of tension on its surface. Cover the dough again with the greased plastic wrap, and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Uncover it and form it into a loaf shape, being careful to tightly pinch any seams closed. Put it in the greased pan, seam side down. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

 

Cover the pan with the greased plastic again, then cover that with the dishtowel, and let the dough proof (ie., have its final rise) in a warm spot for about 45-60 minutes. The dough should have risen above the sides of the pan. Brush the top of the loaf liberally with melted unsalted butter.

 

Bake the bread for about 30-35 minutes or so. Its interior should register 190-195 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (if you want to test it, tip the baked loaf out of the pan and insert the thermometer into the bottom; if it’s not ready yet, pop it back into the pan and the oven), and it should be golden brown. If the bread seems to be browning too fast, cover it loosely with foil. When the bread is done, remove it from the pan to a cooling rack. Brush the top once more, while the bread is still hot, with melted unsalted butter.