Terry’s Oat & Flax Bread
Have I mentioned lately that I love to make bread? I’m not sure where that comes from, unless you figure in the kneading as a form of therapy, and releasing one’s self of frustrations? I try to come up with a healthier version of bread than some of the store bought ones with their preservatives. I realize that some preservatives are necessary, but did you know that potatoes used in the recipe can help with how long the bread will hold up on your counter? Not that fresh, homemade bread will last very long. I love oats and whole grains, and I try to fill in the good flavors of the bread with other good for you ingredients, too. Nick won’t eat it unless it tastes good to him, so I keep on trying to fill in with healthy and hope for a good balance. This recipe manages to fulfill both of our requirements! I hope you enjoy it as much as Nick and a few of our friends have!
1. In a large heat resistant bowl, measure out and add in 2½ cups of old fashioned, or rolled oats. I’m sure the quick cooking will also work here, but I prefer the regular rolled oats. Add up to ½ cup of additional healthy options, to include: ground golden flax, toasted wheat germ, chia seeds, and cooked black or red quinoa. I have used all flax, all red quinoa, and this latest batch, in which I placed 2 T toasted wheat germ and 2 T chia seeds into a ½ cup measure and finished filling it up with the ground golden flax. It was scrumptious! Now add in ½ C butter, cut into pieces, ¼ C molasses, and 3 T turbinado sugar (or increase the molasses). Set aside.
2. Peel and dice a medium russet potato and boil it in a quart of water. Cook until very tender, 15 – 20 minutes, then pour 2½ cups of the boiling potato water over the oats in the bowl. Let set for 20 minutes or so.
3. Pour 1/3 cup of the remaining potato water into a 1 cup measure and let it cool to 1100 . Once the water has cooled, stir in 1 tsp white sugar and 1 T flour. Mix well, and stir in 2 T instant (bread machine) yeast. Set aside to get foamy for 10 minutes or so.
4. Finish draining the potatoes (reserve any remaining water) and mash very well. Stir them into the oat mixture, adding some of the water to make a slightly loose mixture.
5. In the bowl of a bread mixer or a stand mixer, set up with the bread hook, combine 3½ cups of unbleached bread flour, 1 1/3 cups of powdered milk, 3 T bread enhancer or vital wheat gluten, and 1 T sea salt.
6. Combine the yeast mixture and the oat mixture, then pour it over the flour mixture. Turn the mixer on low and mix for 2 – 3 minutes, until well combined. If the mixture appears too wet, add in more bread flour, a tablespoon or two at a time, just until the dough no longer sticks and comes away on your finger when you touch it. You want a nice soft, slightly wet dough, tacky, but not sticky. Now let the mixer knead the dough for 6 – 8 minutes to develop the gluten. If you don’t have a mixer, knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 – 12 minutes, trying not to add in any more flour than you have to, to keep it from sticking to your hands. After it is machine kneaded, you may wish to turn it out onto a lightly oiled surface, and with floured hands, gently shape into a ball, then proceed. Turn the dough ball into a large bowl that you have poured 2 T olive oil into, and turn to coat all sides. Cover and let rest until it doubles in size, about 1½ hours.
7a. For machine kneaded, go to next step.
7b. If hand kneaded, very gently deflate, by slowly pushing your fist into the dough ball and turning it over, tucking the sides underneath. Cover and let rise again, for about 30 minutes.
8. On a lightly oiled surface (a pastry and rolling mat works very well here), very gently dump the risen dough out and very gently flatten and shape into a rectangle, gently patting out any air bubbles. Divide into 4 even pieces, and tightly roll and shape into loaves, placing in oiled loaf pans. Cover and let rise until ¼ – ½” above the top edge of the pans. Preheat oven (convection oven, too) to 3500. I did three of these loaves in the convection oven in my RV, at one time, and put one loaf in my new Breville Smart Oven. They all look the same, and taste the same, but the one in the Breville baked 4 or 5 minutes faster. Of course, it was by itself and that makes a difference.
9. If have a clean spray bottle, lightly spray (mist) the tops of the loaves with water, and slash with a very sharp knife or razor blade, about ½” deep, JUST BEFORE placing loaves into the oven. (This will cause the loaf to spring into action and raise up very nicely as it starts baking.) Bake for 28 – 30 minutes, until well browned, and bread temperature reaches 190-2050 on an instant read thermometer, or the loaf sounds hollow when thumped. If desired, brush the loaves lightly with butter for a softer crust. Cool completely before slicing. This bread has a nice clean slice and is wonderful for sandwiches and toast!
OAT & FLAX BREAD INGREDIENTS
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled & diced
- 1 quart water
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 T bread flour
- 2 T instant yeast
- 2 ½ C old fashioned oats
- 1/3 C ground golden flax
- 2-3 T toasted wheat germ
- 2-3 T chia seeds
- ¼ C molasses
- 3 T turbinado or brown sugar
- ½ C butter, room temperature
- 1 1/3 C powdered milk
- 3 ½ – 4 ½ C unbleached bread flour
- 3 T bread dough enhancer (or vital wheat gluten)
- 1 T sea salt