oatmeal buttermilk bread

Buttermilk oatmeal bread

The milk in the refrigerator was starting to smell…iffy. Not so bad that it warranted tossing, but not good enough for pouring into my oats. And from what I found online, this is a fine state for baking recipes. I wasn’t able to find anything conclusive about whether it’s close to sour milk, or buttermilk, but historically people found things to do with milk that’s starting to go downhill, and so I made that my mission.

This recipe for Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread sounded fantastic, and I loved that it was adapted from a Macrina recipe. When we visited Seattle several years ago, we had a couple of wonderful breakfasts at neighborhood bakery within walking distance from our hotel. It was such a happy memory that I developed a fondness for Macrina recipes.

Recipe

Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread from orwhateveryoudo.com

Process notes

Formula

  • 1 1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/3 c water, boiled
  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk (I used the past-its-prime milk from the refrigerator)
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 750 gm freshly milled hard white wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp salt (regular, non-iodized Mortons)

Steps

  1. Soak oats in boiled water while prepping rest of ingredients and grinding flour (about 10 min).
  2. Sift flour, yeast, brown sugar together in bowl of stand mixer. In a separate bowl, stir soaked oats, oil, and milk.
  3. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and knead with dough hook for 3 min. Rest 20 min.
  4. After rest, add salt and knead with dough hook 1 min. At this point, it was rather thick so I moved to kneading by hand, adding bits of water to make sure the dough stayed soft.
  5. I kneaded for 20 min., as my go-to whole wheat bread baking book recommends.
  6. Turn into large metal bowl that’s been lightly coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and proof in oven for 1 hr 15 min (proofing function turned on).
  7. Press dough flat and cut in half. Press into rectangles, fold in thirds like a letter, roll up, and pinch seams closed. Place in loaf pans that have been sprayed with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and proof in oven 15 min.
  8. Remove from oven and preheat to 375°. Let dough rise for another 25 min.
  9. Bake 40 min.

Results

Apart from the fact that I let these rise for too long, resulting in a very delicate crumb in the middle, this bread is fantastic. It was exactly what I was craving — thick, dense, chewy sandwich bread that’s not too sweet but has plenty of character. I think the oats have a lot to do with this.

oatmeal buttermilk bread

So far I’ve only had it with butter, and toasted with peanut butter. It was awesome both ways. I haven’t worked out how the other slices will be used…they had to be sliced rather thickly because they were so delicate in places. But in any case, I look forward to pulling a nice big slice out of the freezer from time to time.

In addition to catching the dough before it had risen too much, I think this dough would also benefit from an additional rise time. Normally that’s what I do (per my whole wheat bread book) but since this was my first time making this particular recipe I wanted to follow it on that point. I’ve read that the additional rise time before shaping helps develop the gluten structure.

Update: While I still think an additional rise will help with gluten structure, the flavor of this bread (especially toasted) is so incredible! Every once in awhile I remember that I have it in the freezer and get excited all over again because it’s such a wonderful bread.

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