Oat flour bread

While we’re experiencing some really serious winter weather for this part of the country, I couldn’t think of anything I would like better than the aroma and taste of some warm bread.

loaf of bread

oat-flour bread

I got out the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and made bread.  Because we’re having the possibility of power outages and wanted something that would be easy for sandwiches so I made the “Oat Flour Bread” from that book. (I’ve modified that recipe for a more artisan-like bread using barley or oat flour, too).

Here is the recipe for the sandwich-style oat flour bread (summarized from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day).  See the links above for summary of basic method.

Oat Four Bread (pp.104-105)

Ingredients

  • 3-1/4 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons salt (kosher)
  • 1 cup oat (or barley) flour
  • 5-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I always use King Arthur)
  • Neutral tasting fat for oiling pan. P

Preparation

This makes three 1-1/2-pound loaves.

  1. Mix liquid, yeast, and salt in bowl.
  2. Add flours.
  3. Cover (but not airtight) and let rise to double volume.
  4. The dough can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days (actually up to 14 days) just pulling off what you want to bake right then.
  5. Lightly oil a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
  6. Take a cantaloupe-size piece of dough and lightly flour surface and shape it into a ball or oval and drop into the pan.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Let rest/rise for about 1 hour 40 minutes for refrigerated dough, or about 40 minutes for freshly made dough, until it has about doubled in size.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until nicely browned.
  10. If possible, let cool before cutting–that very seldom happens in my house unless I bake an extra loaf.
  11. If you want it really crusty then follow the procedure with a pan of water in the oven (links above).

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If you like bread but the time for baking doesn’t seem to fit into your schedule, then this technique is worth exploring. Since there is no kneading, and it takes 15 minutes to mix (and clean up) it makes it possible.  I like it for cooking for one since I can easily make a small loaf more often.

I’ve made the pumpernickel (with and without seeds), rye, basic white, brioche, olive oil, and have been pleased with all of them.  I don’t think that the flavor is quite as yeasty as a bread that goes through the traditional method of kneading and several proofings, but it’s as good or better (and much cheaper) than the usual grocery store bread–anything you’ll get short of going to a real artisan bakery.  Once you get started with it, you can modify to your taste, too.  The same authors also have a similar book for healthy and whole grain breads (bibliography).

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Barley flour….

I’ve got barley flour now, so I can try the oat bread with barley instead. I like barley as well as oats, so this should be fun (and maybe healthy).  I think I can just substitute barley flour for oat flour, but I guess I should do a little research on the two before I do, though.

Oat flour bread

Freshly baked oat flour bread

oat flour bread fresh from the oven

Bread is one of my favorite things–from the yeasty smell while it’s doing that last rise before going into the oven, while it’s baking, or just out of the oven while I’m waiting for it to cool a bit–to the crusty crunch of biting into a slice  fresh from the oven.

I’m addicted to having fresh bread when I want it, using the no-knead approach from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.   I’ve had great luck with every recipe that I’ve tried from this book–from the basic white bread to the brioche, including pita bread, rye bread, and now the oat flour sandwich loaf.

The stated intent of the oat flour recipe was to sneak more fiber and whole grain into the kids diet.  Since I don’t have to worry about the kid’s diet, only my own, I decided that I wanted more oat flavor and a different consistency–more like free-form boule or a loaf baked in an Italian pan.

I started with the “Oat Flour Bread” (pp.104-105) recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” ,  then added the information gleaned from reading Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day on gluten requirements and characteristics of flours, I’ve been working on modifying the recipe to meet my particular desires:  first, more oat flavor, and second, a dough that can be baked free-form, or in an Italian perforated pan rather than a loaf pan.

Oat flour bread dough for free-form loaf

Ingredients (3 one-pound loaves)

  • 3-1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2-1/2 cups oat flour (275 grams)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vital gluten (about 1-2 teaspoons per cup of whole grain flour)
  • 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (King Arthur is my preference)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon granulated yeast

Preparation

  • Measure out and whisk together the dry ingredients (except for salt and yeast). When you’re adding vital gluten you need to be sure it’s well mixed with the flour before you add liquid or it can form lumps.
  • Combine lukewarm water, salt and yeast in the mixing bowl and gradually add the dry ingredients.  If you’re using a stand mixer, use the paddle instead of the dough hook.
  • Place in a covered, but not air-tight container, and allow to rise until doubled in volume; then refrigerate.
  • Pull of the amount of dough needed and shape as directed, and bake in an oven preheated to 400 ° F for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
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perforated italian loaf pan

Italian loaf pan (perforated

I like to bake my bread in an Italian loaf  pan (bigger than a baguette pan), since it’s just the right diameter to slice the bread on a diagonal and have a good size for a small sandwich. For me this is an effort at mindful eating and  portion control–rather than “dieting”.   This would do well in a baguette pan for good crusty bread if you don’t want to use it for sandwiches.  The Italian pan gives with some of the good parts of a baguette when it’s fresh out of the oven, but the flexibility to have sandwiches later as well.

loaves fresh from the oven, one cut, one whole

yum!