- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Lightly butter a large bowl and a bread loaf pan about 9x5x3 inches. The dough can also be formed into a boule (round loaf) and baked on a baking sheet.
- Add 2 cups of warm water, yeast, and molasses to a bowl (separate from the buttered bowl). Stir, allowing the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes until it begins to bubble. If it doesn't bubble, the yeast may be inactive, in which case you'll want to start again.
- Measure the flours, oats, and butter into the bowl with the yeast mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon. Cover with a slightly damp towel and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Knead dough on a floured surface--slap the dough around a bit. The dough should be soft and supple, slightly tacky.
- For the first rise, scrape the dough onto a floured surface and knead it a few times. Put the dough into the buttered bowl, cover with towel, and let rise for about an hour, or until it's doubled in size.
- Shape the dough on a lightly floured surface. Press down the dough, working it toward a square shape while depressing all of the bubbles. Fold the dough down from the top to middle, then from bottom to the middle. Bring the newly formed top and bottom edges together and pinch the seam in the middle, sealing the seam with the with your fingers. Pinch the sides together and roll the shaped dough back and forth, plumping so that it's evenly formed and about the size of the loaf pan. Place the dough in the pan, seam-side down. Press it gently into the corners of the pan.
- Cover the dough with the towel and let rise in a warm place for another hour. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- When the dough has finished its final rise, sprinkle the top of the loaf with oats or bran.
- Bake for 40 minutes. The loaf is ready when the crust is molasses dark. To see if the bread is ready, give the top of the loaf a thump to see if it sounds hollow. If not, bake for another five minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a baking rack, a few hours.
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine's Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes, vol. 14, contributed by Kim Boyce and Amy Scattergood's Good to the Grain. The original recipe calls for all mixing to be done in a standing mixer. In step 4, in particular, rather than kneading the dough, the recipe as written instructs that the dough be put in one's electric mixer with bread hook attached to the mixing apparatus. Unfortunately for me, I do not own a standing mixer. So, I had to improvise. The end result may not be as professional, and I may have missed out on the dough's slapping from side to side of the bowl with a "beautiful sheeting effect," but... so it is. My hands work fine.