Ever have trouble getting bread to rise? I sure do. When I really want to guarantee good bread, I hand the job off to my teenage daughter. She has a great touch with yeast bread and almost always gets good results. However, I’ve been reading that pre-soaked and cooked grains are better digested by the body. In the midst of that reading I came across the idea of making bread using already-cooked grains. Since I happened to have some leftover oatmeal cooling on the counter, I just had to give it a shot.
Here’s the recipe I tried, and I couldn’t be more happy with the way it turned out. It rose beautifully, even for bread-challenged me. It used up a leftover that otherwise would have just gone to our chickens. And it tasted wonderful. One note: the dough may feel slightly sticky even after you’ve added all the flour. To avoid making it too heavy, before adding any additional flour let it rise in a buttered bowl for an hour. If it is still too sticky at that point, you can add just a little more flour then. But most likely the dough will be much easier to handle after rising.
Makes 2 loaves
- 1 -1/2 cups cooked oatmeal, cooled to lukewarm
- 2 packages yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup hot tap water (about 110-115 degrees)
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Let oatmeal cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, stir the yeast and teaspoon of sugar into the warm water until dissolved, and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast has created a bubbly foam on top of the water. Add the warm milk, salt, brown sugar, and yeast mixture to the oats and stir well. Then stir in 5 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. (I did this with my Kitchenaid.)
- Turn out on a floured board-- or if you're using a Kitchenaid, continue to knead using the dough hook. Knead until the dough feels smooth, pliable and elastic. You may need to add up to one cup more flour if necessary to get the right feel. Shape the dough into a ball, put into a well-buttered bowl, and turn to coat on all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch the dough down. Knead for 2 or 3 minutes and shape into two loaves. Thoroughly butter two 8 x 4 x 2-inch tins. Place the dough in the tins, cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, place the bread in the center of the lowest rack, and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on top and bottom with the knuckles. Remove the loaves to a rack to cool. If you want a very soft top crust, brush the loaves with melted butter when you bring them out of the oven.