I love Bread Baking Day. It is my favorite of the monthly food blogger events, since I love bread and am always up for experimenting with it. However, I can tell that Bread Baking Day is going to be a tad more difficult for me as the days grow warmer, especially while I am stuck in this terrible rental kitchen. Lest you think I am whining without reason, the kitchen in this house was originally an added all weather porch—what this means is there is no insulation. In the winter it is cold, in which case although the bread may take longer to rise, the actual baking of it in the oven is warm and cozy. Right now the baking is turning my kitchen into hell. You walk through the doorway and you literally hit a wall of heat. And it is only in the 70s, albeit sunny! Sooo…. It definitely took a bit for me to make myself make bread this time around.
Now I am sad that it did. I have been craving egg salad sandwiches and I can tell that this loaf is going to go fast, in which case I am determined to make bread sooner the next time. Maybe this weekend when the temperature drops.
The theme this month, chosen by Paulchen’s Foodblog, is bread with oats. In some ways this was easy for me as oat and honey breads are my favorite sandwich breads. However it was also made more difficult because it was harder for me to stretch myself. Then I remembered this intriguing looking Maple Oatmeal Bread from Bon Appetit that my friend Elizabeth introduced me to but that I had not yet had a chance to make. It seemed like a sign that I needed to make it. The bread is reminiscent of a basic honey oat sandwich bread, but the flavor and aroma do indeed have the distinct and alluring hint of maple. The original recipe called for maple extract, which I do not have, but honestly I don’t think it needed it. If it had tasted that much more strongly of maple I am not sure I would have wanted to use it for savory sandwiches.
One note about this exact recipe: It made a very large loaf—too large, in fact. I found the proportions a little off on this recipe. I actually needed to add water, which is unusual for me. And the bread is rather fragile. So the flavor gets a thumbs up from me but I would make it in 2 small (8X4) loaves next time.
Maple Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional, see above)
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
Place oats, maple syrup, butter and salt in the bottom of a heavy duty mixer bowl. Pour the boiling water over these ingredients and leave to soak. When the temperature has cooled to lukewarm (105-115 F), add the yeast, egg and 1 cup of flour. Beat until smooth with the paddle attachment. Switching to the dough hook, add the rest of the flour slowly, until first a rough mass forms, and then a ball that clears the sides of the bowl. You may need to add water or additional flour. Knead with the dough hook for 6 minutes. Scrape dough from hook. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and towel. Let rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
Spray with nonstick spray a 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan (next time I would use 2 8 X 4 pans). Also spray the sheet of plastic wrap. Scrape dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Shape into 8×3-inch log. Place in prepared pan;cover loosely with prepared plastic wrap, greased side down. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until center is 1 1/2inches higher than pan, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F 20 minutes before the rising is over. Gently pull plastic off dough. Place bread in oven; bake until deep golden and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 180°F, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn bread out of pan. Cool completely on rack.