Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Honey Oat Bread

One thing that I've found about being home with my 1 1/2 year old is that you have to have a keen mind to think of things to DO. There's only so much time that can be spent with play dough, watching the garbage truck and tackling the dog. Before Mali came along, I used to make all sorts of bread - baguettes, fougasses, brioche, beautiful pinwheel and braided breads ... you name it, I made it. When baby came along though, all that went out the wayside. Now that he's a bit older though and likes to pour and scoop and stir, we've started up again and are having a great time. These days, Mali and I make up a loaf of bread every 3-4 days. I'm always asked, "how on earth do you make your own bread with a baby in the house??!!" - the answer, primarily, is that it's something to do. And what a delicious "something"! There's of course the added benefits of of making your own bread: it's inexpensive, it's substantially tastier than store-bought bread, it isn't filled with preservatives and it's super good for you and packed with nutrients. The OT in me also loves all the benefits that come with having your child help you to cook - sequencing, fine motor skills, balance, sensory integration... and so on.

Ordinarily when baking bread, I would mix the dough with my first child stand mixer, but making bread is easy enough that this is just a convenience, not a requirement by any means. Basically, instead of doing the kneading and stirring described below, I just flip a switch and the machine does it for me.

Okay, on with the bread!

- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cups oat mix*
- 2 tbs. sugar
- 1 tbs. milk powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. yeast (I like to use bread machine yeast as you can just mix it in)
- 1 1/2 tsp. oil
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 tbs. honey

* sometimes these are sold as "porridge oats" - they're sold in the breakfast section of the grocery store and have a nice mix of flax seeds, quinoa, oatmeal etc. I like the "Rogers" brand. You could easily make your own if you have the ingredients on hand. A handful of this and a handful of that!

* if you are using a bread maker, just follow your own instructions. The instructions I'm posting are for use with a stand mixer:

1. Combine all of your ingredients in your mixer with the dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for 5-6 minutes.
* if mixing by hand you'll have to knead your dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, which usually takes about 20 minutes. If you are not using bread machine yeast, you will have to let your yeast proof with warm water and sugar first.

2. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

3. Punch down the dough! My toddler loves this part. Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out into an approximate square that is the length of your loaf pan.

4. Roll your square of dough into a loaf and tuck the ends under. Transfer to a lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 30-40 minutes.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove your loaf from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Do not let your loaf cool in the pan as it will get damp. Enjoy!