Sunday, March 6, 2011

Baking Craze Cont...

Now for the bread…

My story starts with too much oatmeal. I’d made extra because there was only half a cup left in the package, and for all the work involved you can’t just leave half a cup in the package, so I cooked it. Normally I’d just throw the leftovers in the fridge knowing someone would want a snack—(oatmeal, as I think I’ve mentioned doesn’t last very long at my house) but that day I was in the mood to bake.
So, I picked up the phone for a chat with Nana.

Now, before I tell you about that conversation however, you need to know that Nana is an amazing baker. Every week she bakes me 3 loaves of the most amazing whole wheat bread. Talk about spoiled, huh? She also bakes amazing rolls, pies, buns, cinnamon rolls and myriad of other things too numerous to list. Anyway…for the past several years I’ve gone on baking kicks, always trying to make my bread turn out as good hers…and of course….ending with varying degrees of success.

“What would happen if I tried to make bread with some of this leftover oatmeal?” I asked her.
Her reply was immediate. It would be great, and she used to make oatmeal bread all the time when I was little. (I don’t remember that…my memories are of ‘healthy’ whole wheat bread, but I’ll take her word for it.) Then she rattles off a recipe from memory while I frantically scribble down ingredients and measurements.

“Add some raisins and make cinnamon-raisin swirl bread,” she suggested. Then said, “after you add the cinnamon, mist it with a little water so it sticks together better”…and “a little sugar sprinkled on the cinnamon is nice”….and “let me know how it turns out, Honey.” I hang up the phone, shaking my head. OMG! Amazing.

And believe me it was…which is why I wanted to share it with you. I hope you’ll enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Makes 2 loaves

2 cups               water—warm (115 degree F or so)
¾ - 1 cup         cooked steel cut or Scottish Oatmeal—cooked
3 Tbs                 brown Sugar
3 Tbs                 butter (or 1 ½ Tbs butter and 1 ½ Tbs Shortening
                                          to extend shelf life)
5 tsp                   active dry yeast
5-6 cups            flour
2 cups                raisins
1 tsp                   salt

2 Tbs                  oil (for coating bread bowl)

2-3+ Tbs           cinnamon
1-2 Tbs              white sugar

Bottle with water for misting


I usually use the dough cycle of my bread machine for this recipe but you could use a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook or make by hand.

Place the water, oatmeal, brown sugar, butter, flour, yeast, and salt in the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the dough cycle and press start.
(If making without a bread machine, you may consider proofing the yeast in part of the warm water with some of the brown sugar before combining with the flour and oatmeal)

Keep an eye on your dough and add more flour if needed. About 5 minutes before the end of the kneading cycle add the raisins.

Pour oil into large bowl. Remove dough from pan and place in oiled bowl. Coat dough with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Allow bread to rise until almost doubled (30-45 minutes.)

Prepare loaf pans by spraying with no-stick cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 C).

After dough has risen, punch down and pat dough into a large rectangle (about 1-inch thick) and sprinkle with cinnamon. Mist with water, and sprinkle on the white sugar. Roll dough into a 'log' and pinch edges closed.

Cut the ‘log’ in half and shape into a loaves.

Place into prepared loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise additional 30 minutes or until nicely risen above the loaf pans.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until nicely brown.

Remove from loaf pans and brush top of loaves with butter.

This bread makes awesome toast. 
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