He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

05 January 2011

{Maple Oatmeal Bread}

I have a nostalgia for homemade bread. My Oma always had a loaf on hand and gladly shared her recipe with my mom as well as her many other daughters and daughter-in-laws. I'm sure I'll share her recipe at some point; it's the most basic white or wheat bread recipe I've found. This recipe, however, happens to be my favorite bread recipe. It's also fairly simple. The coffee, maple syrup and butter in its dough make it so rich, robust and full-flavored. Hubs says it's like trying to describe a beer. There are hints of so many things that make it what it is that it's hard to describe. In other words, just make it and you'll see!

Maple Oatmeal Bread
{BH&G Cook Book Special Edition, "Eating for Life" section}
What You'll Need:
5 3/4 to 6 1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 packages {5 1/2 tsp} active dry yeast
1 1/2 c prepared coffee {the darker the coffee the stronger the flavor in the end}
1 c quick-cookie rolled oats
3/4 c pure maple syrup {i.e. no Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin!!}
1/3 c butter
2 t salt
2 eggs

What To Do:
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour and the yeast. 
In a saucepan heat the coffee, oats, maple syrup, butter, and salt over medium low heat just until warm and butter is almost melted.
Add to flour mixture along with eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour. 
Punch down dough. Turn out onto a floured surface; divide in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Lightly grease two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans; set aside. 
Shape dough into 2 loaves by patting or rolling. (To shape, gently pat and pinch, tucking edges underneath. Or on a floured surface roll each dough half into a 12x8 rectangle. Roll up each rectangle, starting from a short side. Seal seems with fingertips.)Place shaped dough in prepared pans. Cover; let rise in a wam place until nearly doubled in size (30-45 mins).
Preheat oven to 375. 
Bake for 30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped. If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 10-15 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning. {This part is important! I've undercooked this bread and been left with a raw center because I didn't check it before cooling.}
Immediately remove bread from pans. Cool on wire racks.

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