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.
Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread from orwhateveryoudo.com
- 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)
- Soak oats in boiled water while prepping rest of ingredients and grinding flour (about 10 min).
- Sift flour, yeast, brown sugar together in bowl of stand mixer. In a separate bowl, stir soaked oats, oil, and milk.
- Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and knead with dough hook for 3 min. Rest 20 min.
- 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.
- I kneaded for 20 min., as my go-to whole wheat bread baking book recommends.
- 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).
- 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.
- Remove from oven and preheat to 375°. Let dough rise for another 25 min.
- Bake 40 min.
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.
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.