Life's Too Short for Mediocre Chocolate is one of my favorite sources for delicious and unique sandwich breads. This recipe for Maple-Oatmeal Bread definitely did not disappoint. It's very easy to pull together, and the addition of vital wheat gluten and dry milk makes it light and fluffy despite the whole wheat flour. The maple flavor really comes through and the bread is a bit sweet, so I'd recommend it for breakfast toast or peanut butter-and-jelly rather than cold cuts.
Maple-Oatmeal Bread (from Life's Too Short for Mediocre Chocolate)
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/3 cups boiling water
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 T brown sugar
3 T melted butter
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 T vital wheat gluten
1 T dry milk powder
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
additional 1/4 cup bread flour, as needed
2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1. Soak the oats in the water for 30 minutes.
2. Mix all dry ingredients except the extra bread flour and salt in the mixer bowl.
3. Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter to the soaked oats and mix to combine.
4. Check temperature of oat mixture. It should be at about 120 degrees, and feel pretty warm. If it's over 125, wait until it cools down. This is so you don't kill the yeast. Once cooled, add oat mixture to dry ingredients, and mix gently until all flour is moistened. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead for a minute or two in the bowl.
5. Cover bowl with a towel and let rest 20 minutes.
6. Turn on the mixer on to low speed and sprinkle in salt. Knead 8 minutes, adding bread flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to bottom or sides of bowl. Add it in a tablespoon at a time until dough is smooth and clears the sides and the bottom of the bowl, and is still slightly sticky.
Place dough in oiled container and let rise til doubled in a warm spot, about 40-60 minutes.
7. Gently turn dough out onto a floured surface and press to deflate. Round it into a ball using both hands, and turning the dough in a circular motion. This is called rounding, and is important for even shaping. Cover ball with a towel and let rest 10-20 minutes.
8. Gently press or roll dough into a rectangle that is as wide as your loaf pan is long. Roll up tightly, jelly-roll style, pinching seam and ends together. Place seam-side down in oiled loaf pan, cover with towel and let rise until 1 1/2-2" above rim of pan, 40-60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.
10. Bake 20 minutes, then turn loaf, tent with foil, and bake another 30-35 until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when thumped. For a soft crust, brush with butter. Allow to cool most of the way, 30-40 minutes, before slicing or bagging.