After struggling with the gloppy, wet Pain d'Epi dough, I thought a regular bread dough would be a nice change of pace. I had a brief vision of domestic goddessness, wherein the kids would love the bread and want it for their near-daily pb&h(oney) sandwiches and I would begin baking bread each week. This oatmeal honey wheat bread was good, but they turned up their noses at it when I sent it for lunch. It is definitely firmer and denser than typical sandwich bread, and though you couldn't necessarily discern the specific taste of the oatmeal, I think they got that it wasn't straight honey-wheat bread. (Oatmeal does something weird when you bake it into bread; it just melts away! I don't understand it.) I will say that the dough was very well-behaved and easy to handle. Overall, I liked the taste of this bread, particularly when slathered with butter and honey, but I didn't think it was spectacular. I am going to have to keep practicing to get the hang of these non-challah, yeast breads.
Vermont Oatmeal Maple-Honey Bread (from King Arthur Flour)
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups (18-20 ounces) boiling water
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats (I'm sure you can use quick oats as well; they are cut more finely and will really melt away)
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) maple sugar or 1/2 cup (4 ounces) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon maple flavor (optional)
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups (7 3/4 ounces) whole wheat flour
4 cups (17 ounces) unbleached, all-purpose flour
In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, oats, maple or brown sugar, maple flavor, honey, butter, salt, and cinnamon. Let cool to lukewarm. (It will look like a weird bowl of oatmeal.)
Add yeast and flours, stirring to form a rough dough. Knead (10 minutes by hand; 5-7 minutes with a machine) until the dough is smooth and satiny. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with lightly greased plastic rap, and let it rise 1 hour. It should double in bulk, and as with most rise times, the doubling in bulk is more important than strict timekeeping. If it takes an hour and ten minutes, so be it.
Divide the dough in half and shape each into a loaf. Don't work too hard; it's going to rise in the pan. Place the loaves in two greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pans. Re-cover with the lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise again until they've crowned about an inch over the rim of the pan. This will take about an hour, and if they don't really get that high, you'll get the same flatness (or dip) on the center of the loaf that I did. See below.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven when they are golden brown and the interior registers 190F on an instant-read thermometer. (I think mine took less than 35 minutes, so keep an eye on the oven.)