This is the first homemade bread I remember making, and the note I wrote back in 2007 reads "Best Bread Ever!" Although I've made many tasty breads since that time, this bread holds a special place in my culinary memory. I baked it again this week, and it is just as good as I remember. It's wonderful lightly toasted and spread with a touch of butter. This definitely is one of my favorite breads ever and one I'll knead by hand for memory's sake! The recipe comes from Breaking Bread with Father Dominic.
Honey Oatmeal Bread
1 cup oats, uncooked
2 cups hot water
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. salt
5 1/2 cups white flour
Additional oats for coating
Pour the oats into a large bowl. Bring 2 cups water to a boil, and pour over the oats. Let stand at least 15 minutes until mixture is lukewarm.
Sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup warm water, and stir to mix. Let stand 5 minutes to dissolve. Add yeast mixture to oats, and add honey, butter and salt. Mix well. Work in enough flour to handle the dough, but remember the dough will be very sticky. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 1 to 2 minutes. Cover, and let rest 10 minutes. Knead again until dough is elastic, adding flour as needed.
Place dough into a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough, and divide into two equal pieces. Knead each piece gently to remove any air bubbles. Do not use any flour on the kneading surface, as you want the loaves to remain sticky. Form each piece into a round loaf, and roll in additional oats until completely covered. Place loaves on Silipat-lined baking sheets. Cover, and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake loaves about 45 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from baking sheets, and let cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.