Saturday, February 7, 2009

Irish Oatmeal Bread

I realize I've done a lot of bread baking lately, but as my mom remarked today, it's such a cozy thing to do during winter months. Consider this a heads-up that I'll return to less yeast-y, time-consuming recipes as soon as the weather warms. Today, though, I was excited to try out this oatmeal bread. Oatmeal is rich in fiber and lowers your risk for type II diabetes... but generally we get stuck only thinking of it as a breakfast cereal. If you eat slices of this bread at lunch, though, and you can double your oatmeal intake for the day.

Start out by combining 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water in a large bowl with 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons steel-cut oats, a teaspoon and a half salt, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons organic brown sugar and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance). Let stand 25 minutes. (If you have a large stand mixer, use that, and use the blade of the mixer later on when the flour is added; if not, any large bowl will do and you can stir by hand later on).

Dissolve 1 package of yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) and a dash of raw sugar into 1/4 cup warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees). Let stand 5 minutes before adding to the oat mixture.

Note: I made a mistake and added the dash of sugar earlier to the oats, not realizing it was meant to be dissolved in with the yeast! Luckily this was a minor mistake, so didn't make a difference.

Spoon out 1 and 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour into measuring cups, leveling with a knife. Add to the oat mixture. If using a stand mixer, beat at medium speed until blended. If - like me - you don't have a stand mixer, stir by hand until well combined in your bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes (punch dough with palms, fold over, quarter turn, repeat!), adding up to 1/4 cup more all-purpose flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick to your hands - I didn't need to use quite that much.

Place the dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top; cover and let rise for 1 hour - you know the drill: find some place free from drafts and about 85 degrees.

Once risen, punch the dough down and let rest 5 minutes. Transfer to a floured surface and roll into a 14x8 inch rectangle. Starting at the short end, roll the rectangle up tightly, pressing to eliminate any air pockets; pinch the seam and the ends to seal.

Fit the loaf, seam-side down, in a 9x5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Make the equivalent of one egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G) and brush over the top of the loaf - you'll have leftover "egg" mixture so just discard the rest.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes - it should sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack before slicing into 14 yummy slices - 160 calories each.

Use any leftover steel-cut oats for breakfast, of course!

steel-cut oats $3.39
whole wheat flour $3.49

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance