I have been craving homemade bread. I like to make bread and would make some every week, except for the whole don't-eat-carbs thing. Lee is supposed to be on a high fiber diet, so I looked around for a good bread recipe. I found this one on Taste of Home and made a few minor changes.
Lee is part Norwegian, so eating this is part of his Scandinavian heritage. I decided it was important to accompany him on this journey.
Norwegian Oatmeal Molasses Bread
2 cups boiling water
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/2 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
6 to 6 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon melted butter
Place the oats in a medium, heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Stir and set aside to cool.
I like to proof the yeast before I do anything else. Put the yeast in a cereal bowl and add the warm water. I just use warm tap water. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. I like to add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the yeast. I figure it likes a bit of sugar when you wake it up. Give the yeast a stir to dissolve and get out the rest of your ingredients.
Check the bloom on the yeast. It should have puffed up a bit and look foamy. It's ALIVE! ( If you say this out loud, try to sound like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein.) If it doesn't do anything, then your yeast is dead, the bread won't rise and you will have no bread today. Go buy some new yeast and start over.
Place the yeast, cooled oatmeal mixture, molasses, oil, salt and three cups of the flour in a large bowl. Beat until smooth. Then add one cup of flour at a time until you have a soft dough. I added 2 cups, making 5 cups of flour, and then added the 6th cup when kneading.
I hope you carefully washed and dried your counter before you started. If not, do it now. Sprinkle flour on the counter and scrape the dough out onto the counter. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour when needed. You are done when the bread is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky.
Scrape out the bowl you used to make the bread and place about 1 Tablespoon of canola oil in it. Place the dough back in the bowl and turn to coat it. Cover with a damp towel and place it in a warm spot to double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Our house was cold, so I preheated the oven to 200° and turned it off when it beeped.
I placed the dough in the slightly warm oven.
Punch the dough down and put it back on the cleaned and re-floured counter. Knead a few times and then cut the dough in half. I had one loaf slightly larger than the other and I didn't care.
Use a rolling pin to roll one ball into a rectangle to get out all the air bubbles.
Use your fingers to roll it into a loaf shape. Start from the smaller end and then pinch the seam to seal it. Fold over the ends and pinch to seal along the previous seam.
Place in a loaf pan that you sprayed with Pam. Cover with some plastic wrap that you also sprayed with Pam and let rise until doubled, about one more hour. If you let yours rise in the oven, carefully remove and preheat the oven to 350°. Uncover the bread, return it to the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Mine took just under 40 minutes.
Remove the bread from the pans and let cool on a wire rack. Brush the tops with the melted butter. Don't try to cut the bread when it is hot. It will smoosh the insides together. But it is nice to have the first slices when it is kinda warm and the softened butter melts into the bread. I wondered it the molasses would make it sweet, but it wasn't. Just delicious.
Lee heaped praise upon my head. When I asked if he liked it he said it was good. I think I heard an Mmmm.
The Taste Of Home site said it was good toasted. So, in the interests of full disclosure I had some for breakfast. It was good with melted butter. And also with marmalade.