I went to a luncheon with some of the ladies at church for my friend Rockelle's 40th birthday. I had signed up to bring bread, so I baked 4 loaves of my Honey Oat Wheat Bread and took two of them with me to the lunch. I think there were about 8 ladies there, and a few kids, and when I left, I had an empty bread basket and lots of compliments.
This is a variation of a couple of different recipes and my own experience. I originally got the idea from the cookbook that came with my Kitchen-aid mixer, but my recipe is much different from the original. I don't have a photo right now of the finished bread, but stay tuned and I will post one next time I make the bread, probably tomorrow or Monday.
I always use fresh ground wheat flour in my breads unless I'm using only white flour (mainly French bread). I have hundreds of pounds of hard red winter wheat that I inherited from my grandparents. They stored it for years and years, and used a lot, but there is a lot leftover. Hard red winter wheat is just not the best for baking bread. It works fine in quick breads, but just does not have the gluten necessary to trap the gasses produced when yeast dough rises, and inevitably falls in the oven. I found, through many frustrating batches of bread that even when I added gluten and/or dough enhancer, I still did not get good quality, light bread; I mostly baked a lot of bricks.
I phoned my parents' friends who are renowned bread bakers and begged for mercy and for help, and luckily, they were ever so kind and taught me a lot. I still want to use this wheat I have been storing, but now, when I grind wheat, I put in 2 cups of hard white winter wheat to 1 cup of hard red winter wheat and it seems to make the perfect flour. I grind it at a nice fine texture and it works just great for all of my needs.
A note about baking pans: Everyone always raves about my bread crust. I cannot take credit for the crust, I must give credit where it is deserved...to the pans I use. I bake, for the most part only on stoneware baking pans, and I hope to never go back to metal, glass, or any other material. It is so worth the investment!!
OK, now back to the recipe! Rockelle has been begging me for the recipe ever since the luncheon, but it's only a recipe in my head, and I promised her I would take the time to type it out, so here goes:
Heidi's Honey Oat Wheat Bread
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2-4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 Tbsp. water
Place white flour and 3 cups whole wheat flour, oats, salt, and yeast in mixer bowl. Mix at low speed (in Bosch or speed 2 for Kitchen-aid) for about 15 seconds. Continuing on low speed gradually add warm mixture to flour mixture and mix about 1 minute. Add eggs and mix about 1 minute longer. Continuing, add flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix about 2 minutes more or until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, adjusting speed as necessary. Knead about 2 minutes longer.
Place dough in greased bowl (I spray with Pam), turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place in greased (or Pam sprayed) pan. Let rise about 1 more hour or until doubled in bulk.
Beat together the egg and 1 Tbsp. water. Brush the top of each loaf with the egg mixture and sprinkle with oatmeal. Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes; the tops of the loaves should be golden, not dark. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.
If your family is like mine, one of these loves will never know what it is like to be cool!