Five-Star Honey-Oat Bread

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This is THE recipe for out-of-this-world loaf bread!  The loaf is perfectly pillowey and soft with a scrumptiously sweet and crisp crust.

I like to make this with at least half whole wheat bread flour for the flavor and health benefit.  The whole wheat bread flour can make the bread a little denser but to no injury to the end result.  It is still fantastic in every sense of the word.

 

Ingredients

 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour

1½ cups organic  whole wheat bread flour (may sub for more unbleached all-purpose flour)

¾ cup old fashioned oats

2¼ teaspoons instant yeast (the kind made for bread machines)

1½ teaspoons sea salt

1 cup almond milk (almond or soy milk for vegan/dairy free)

¼ cup (62 ml) lukewarm water

2 tablespoons coconut oil, liquified

¼ cup honey (agave for vegan)

1½ to 2 tablespoons honey (or agave),  reserved

1½ to 2 tablespoons oats, reserved

Instructions

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, oats, yeast, and salt.

Gently warm the coconut oil, almond milk, water and honey, stirring to combine.

Pour wet into dry and mix until dough starts to come together to form a ball.  (If using a stand mixer, mix dough using the mixing blade just until the dough ball forms.  Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions to avoid burning out your stand mixer)

Knead by hand approximately 12 minutes or in a mixer approximately 4-6 (again, check the manufacturer’s instructions.  My KitchenAid can knead dough in 4 minutes at Speed 2.  This is recommended in the booklet containing their other bread recipes.)

Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (if you’re making this recipe by hand, the dough will be very sticky at first; flour your hands and work surface generously and be patient). If the dough is still very wet and sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is barely tacky. If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 teaspoon  at a time, to soften it up.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about ½ to 1 hour.

Once doubled, place the dough on a clean, dry work surface. If the dough is too sticky, lightly flour the surface before continuing. With your fingers, flatten the dough into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Tightly roll the dough, tucking the ends as needed, into a loaf. Place the shaped dough into a 9×5-inch loaf pan, cover with a clean dry towel, and allow to rise until doubled, about ½ to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C).  Place an *extra*, empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven and fill with  2 cups of water.  You can pre-boil the water and add it at the time of baking.  I just let my water heat with the oven, creating steam to help bake the bread.

Brush the top of the dough with the warmed honey and sprinkle with the oats.

Place the bread in the oven . Close the oven door and bake bread for 40 to 50 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown and the internal temperature is about 190 degrees.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

 

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