This sun-kissed Maple Oatmeal Bread is so light and fluffy, you might have to fight an urge to cuddle it when it comes out of the oven. Or to gobble it all down in one sitting.
I made this bread this past weekend and of all the breads I’ve shared with you on Holy Cow! this has to be one of my favorites. It’s part-whole-wheat, which makes it healthy, and it’s a fairly dense sandwich-type bread which makes it easy to slice and then slather that peanut butter on (and you can hold the jelly). If you have kids, they will love this one.
Before I dive into the recipe, I want to talk a little bit about the messages you send me. I love getting them and they almost always put a smile on my face. When you have a question I am more than happy to answer it. But please bear in mind that if you send me an email with an urgent question when you are smack-dab in the midst of making a recipe, there is a good chance that I may not see your email and answer it before it’s too late for you and for the recipe.
I wanted to bring this up because over the years I’ve often opened my inbox in the mornings or late at night and found these urgent messages waiting for me. But here’s the thing: I am not glued to my email and the blog all day. I have a career and a family and this blog is strictly a hobby that I try and make time for in my busy day. As much as I’d love to help you out I may not be able to in time.
That said, here are a few simple things to keep in mind when trying out any new recipe:
1. Always adjust the spice to your taste. What may be near-bland to an Indian palate could be super-hot for someone not used to eating chillies in every meal. So if, for instance, a recipe calls for four red chillies, and you are someone who isn’t used to spice, cut it down to one or two.
2. If you are a new baker, don’t tweak a recipe before you’ve mastered it. Yes, I understand you are an independent soul who would like to put your mark on everything you cook up, but if you want that bread or cake to end up at the dinner table and not in the trash do try and follow a recipe thoroughly. Once you are a seasoned baker, you can definitely do all the tweaking you want– and that day will come, believe me.
3. If you adjust proportions, make sure you adjust all of them. Don’t for instance, halve the amount of bread flour and forget to halve the amount of water or soymilk or yeast. Get the idea?
4. Measure ingredients while cooking, especially if you are a new cook. Yes, Rachel Ray looks enviably confident eyeballing a tablespoon of EVOO straight from the bottle into the pan but some of us who are still learning all this cooking stuff need those measuring spoons and cups. This is especially true when you’re dealing with spices because trust me, one teaspoon of turmeric in your curry instead of half would not be a good thing.
5. Taste the recipe as you go. This is a great rule of thumb for any cook. Tasting your food at different stages gives you an understanding of what the various ingredients contribute, and how textures and flavors change as they cook. Over time, you will master the alchemy of throwing ingredients together to create a whole new dish.
Then there are times when you might just want to use good old commonsense. Like if you baked up a bread and realized you had forgotten to remove the plastic wrap covering the loaf before you put it in the oven, there really is no way you can save it. Even if you spent a whole day making it, and it breaks your heart.
If you were wondering, yes, I really did get that question.
Whole-Wheat Maple Oatmeal Bread
(Based loosely on this recipe)
(Makes 2 loaves)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast mixed with 1/2 cup warm water and set aside for five minutes.
2 cups whole-wheat durum flour (can substitute regular whole-wheat flour)
2 cups bread flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 cup turbinado or brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil or other vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Mix the oats, maple syrup, sugar, oil, cinnamon, salt and water in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer and let it sit for about 10 minutes or until it’s lukewarm
Add the yeast and water mixture and the flour and knead into a smooth dough by hand for about 10 minutes, or 7 minutes in the stand mixer. If the dough is too loose, add a little more flour.
Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top with oil. Cover the top of the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for about an hour to 90 minutes or until the dough has doubled.
Divide the dough into two and shape each half into an oval, tucking the seams underneath. Place each half in greased, standard-sized loaf pans (around 9 X 5 inches, although a slight variation in sizes doesn’t really matter).
Cover loosely with a kitchen napkin or oiled plastic wrap and let the loaves rise for 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees about half an hour before baking. Place the loaves in the oven and bake for 33 minutes until the tops are golden-brown.
Remove to a rack, cool for 15 minutes, then unmold the breads. If they stick a bit, run a knife along the sides of the loaf to dislodge it from the pan.
Cool thoroughly before slicing.