I have been on a bread-baking tear lately. A rampage, even. I don't think a day has gone by in the past month when there has not been homemade oatmeal bread on the counter.
Why oatmeal bread? I've tried many combinations of grains for homemade bread. My former favorite homemade bread recipe combines white flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ and cornmeal. But this version, with rolled oats, white flour and flax seeds, seems to be my family's hands-down favorite.
The trick to good bread at home is to ignore all that crap most bread recipes spout about satin-smooth dough that feels like a baby's bottom.
The best bread comes from dough that is so wet it is impossible to knead. It does not clean the bowl when you mix it in the stand mixer. You cannot punch it down and fold it. It is loose and wet, like muffin batter.
Wet dough looks like a blob on the counter but, after an hour in a heavy pot in the oven, turns into bread with a golden thick crust and a moist, flavorful interior. Let it rise a good long time. Don't worry if it seems like a shaggy mess and sticks to your fingers when you try to shape it. All will be well.
Homemade oatmeal bread with flax seeds
This recipe turns out beautiful loaves of artisan-style bread, with a thick crust, chewy interior and sourdough-like flavor.
- 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon honey
- 2 1/2 cups warm water (approximate)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1 Tablespoon salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey and 1/2 cup warm water. Stir with a spoon and let stand 5 minutes. The yeast will "bloom" and start to foam. As soon as you see the yeast activating, move on to the next step.Add the oatmeal, all-purpose flour, flax seeds and salt to the bowl. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and turn it to low. With the mixer running, start adding the warm water in a slow stream. Stop now and then to let the mixer distribute the water among the dry ingredients. Keep adding water until the dough comes together. It should be wet and should NOT pull away from the sides of the bowl completely - you're looking for the texture of thick muffin batter. The dough will require different amounts of water on different days - the weather affects this - so don't be afraid to use more if you need to.When all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is clearly one single entity but still very wet, let the mixer run for 5 minutes. (This will start to develop the gluten.) After 5 minutes, stop the mixer, remove the dough hook, remove the bowl from the mixer, cover it with plastic wrap, and stick it in a warm place for 12 hours or overnight. The dough will rise a bit and get bubbly.After 12 hours or the next morning, scatter some all-purpose flour on your counter and spray a sheet of parchment paper with cooking spray. Using a spatula or dough scraper, carefully turn the dough out of the bowl onto the counter, trying to disturb its bubbly structure as little as possible. Sprinkle a little more flour on top and, using your hands, gather the ends of the dough toward the center of the pile, making a rough "ball" (in quotation marks because the dough will be very loose and will be more of a blob than a ball). With the "seam" side down, set the blob of dough onto the prepared parchment paper. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and loosely tent that over the dough. Leave the blob of dough on the counter for about 2 hours. It won't really rise, but it will expand a bit - that's fine.While the blob is resting, put a cast iron or heavy enameled covered Dutch oven into your oven and turn the heat to 450. Yes, you want to heat the pot with the oven.When the blob has finished resting and the oven is hot, carefully remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid. Carefully lift the parchment and plop the whole thing into the pot, paper and all. Cover the pot immediately and return it to the oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake the loaf uncovered another 20-25 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pot and cool on a rack or board at least 30 minutes before cutting.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 large loaf