Although I've seen a lot of buzz about the "Five Minutes a Day" bread technique, I'd never actually tried it myself until recently. Over Thanksgiving, I got to try my uncle's fantastic breads from the original book, and so I checked the sequel out of the library to give it a spin. This oatmeal date bread was a great way to start, especially since I had a nice batch of fat, moist dates to work with. I really liked the technique - it was easy even without a mixer (which I didn't have since I was baking at my parent's), and I like the idea of being able to store dough in the fridge and bake it up when I'm hungry for warm bread. You can also bake this as one loaf in a loaf pan - just let it rest a bit longer before baking. I didn't mess with a baking stone (don't have one) or with the steam method described in the book, but I was still really happy with the results - the bread had good flavor and was especially tasty topped with honey.
Oatmeal Date Bread (from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
Makes two 1-pound loaves
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or steel cut oats
2-1/4 tsp yeast
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 T vital wheat gluten
1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 T plus 2 tsp maple syrup
2 T vegetable oil
3/4 cup dates (7 or 8 dates), chopped
1. Whisk together the flours, oats, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten. Combine the water, maple syrup, and oil in a small bowl, and then pour into the flour along with the dates. Stir until well combined, but do not knead.
2. Cover and let rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.
3. Use immediately, or chill up to 7 days.
4. When ready to bake, divide the dough into two pieces and shape each one into a ball. Place on a greased baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
5. Let the dough rest 90 minutes if chilled or 40 minutes if unchilled (fresh).
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and then bake the bread for 30 minutes or until richly browned and firm. Let cool slightly before slicing.