A Fabulous New Bread Recipe for the New Year!

Golden Honey Oat Bread

I’ve been working for a long time on a healthful bread with delicious flavor but also my ideal of a perfect texture. The result is this nutritious bread which is also amazingly light, soft, and slightly chewy with lovely crunch from the flax seed. The wheatiness of the whole wheat, flax and oat or barley flakes together with the sweetness from the honey conspire to make this one of my top favorite breads so I am offering it to all of you as my Winter/holiday present for a happy and healthy New Year.

Be sure to use the vital wheat gluten, available in many supermarkets and health food markets. It is the secret to the marvelously light texture of the bread which usually becomes quite dense with the addition of whole wheat and other grains.

Note: Though the photo shows a sprinkling of barley flakes on the crust, I prefer not to sprinkle the top of the loaf with oat or barley flakes as they tend to get hard and fall off when cut.

Note: If anyone wants to make a version using old starter see notes at end of recipe!

TIME SCHEDULE Minimum Rising: About 3 hours Oven Temperature: 400°F/200°C, then 375°F/190°C Baking Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Makes: One Loaf about 4 1/2 inches high

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Equipment: A 9 by 5 inch/ 7 cup bread pan, coated lightly with cooking spray. A baking stone set toward the bottom rung and a cast-iron pan on the floor of the oven.

1) Make the dough (Bread Machine)

In the bread machine container, combine water, oats, and cracked flax and mix to moisten. then let sit covered for a minimum of 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, gluten, powdered milk, and yeast.

Add the honey, and oil to the oat mixture and then the flour mixture. Mix 3 minutes and allow to rest (autolyse) for 20. If your bread machine always restarts with a 3 minute mix allow it to do so while adding the salt and then go into the kneading cycle for 4 minutes. If it starts with the kneading cycle also run it for 4 minutes, adding the salt at the beginning of the kneading cycle.

Stand Mixer

Proceed as for the bread machine method, mixing for about 3 minutes and scraping down the sides until all the flour is moistened. After the autolyse, knead on medium low speed for 4 minutes.

Both Methods:

The dough will be a little tacky and stretchy.

2) Let the dough rise

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 2 quart container with cover or bowl, greased lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. It will be 4 cups /943 grams/33 ounces.). Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 80 to 82°F./28°C) until doubled, about 1 hour, 15 min. For extra strength and elasticity, you can stretch it after the first 30 minutes. To achieve a moist and warm temperature I put a small container of very hot water—about 1 cup--under a plastic box to create a proofer and change the water every 20 to 30 minutes. (You can retard the dough overnight after the first rise by gently deflating it and refrigerating it but it seems to rise best when baked the same day. If you refrigerate it overnight, remove it to room temperature. for about an hour before shaping.

3) Shape the dough and let it rise

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press it down to flatten it slightly. It will still be sticky but use only as much flour as absolutely necessary. Shape it into a log and allow it to relax covered for 20 minutes. (This is essential for an evenly shaped dough.)

Shape the dough into a loaf set it into the prepared baking pan. It will be about 3/4 inches from the top of the pan.

Cover the shaped dough with the plastic box or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until almost doubled and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in. The highest point will be about 1 1/2 inches higher than the sides of the pan. Using the plastic box and hot water it takes 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. At a cooler temperature it will take longer. Meantime preheat the oven for a minimum of 40 minutes.

4) Slash and bake the bread

If you like the look of a bread with a slash down the middle, with a sharp knife or straight edged razor blade, make a 1/2 inch deep slash down the top of the dough. You can also leave it unslashed. Mist the dough with water, quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door,lower the temperature to 375ºF/190ºC, and bake 20 minutes. Turn the dough around, tent, and continue baking 15 to 20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 205°F.).

5) Cool the bread

Unmold the bread onto a wire rack and allow it to cool, top-side-up until barely warm.

The Rose Ratio flour: 100%

white flour + gluten: 75.5%

whole wheat: 24.5%

oats/flax: 16.5%

gluten: 4% (2 teaspoons per cup of flour)

water: 63.4% (including water in the honey & oats and flax in the flour totals)

yeast: 0.69% (including oats/flax in flour total)

salt: 2.2% (including oats/ flax in flour total)

To make a version using old sourdough starter:

Use about 2/3 cup/150 to 159 grams /5.5 ounces old starter torn into the water and oat flake mixture.

Increase the salt to 2 1/4 teaspoons/13.5 grams

Use an 8 to 8 1/2 cup bread pan OR cut off about 1/2 cup/155 grams/5.5 ounces of dough and shape it into a mini loaf or 4 rolls.