And it occurs to me that it's been a while since I've shared with you a nice, basic loaf of sandwich bread -- one that's perfect for PB&Js or BLTs or my 5-year-old's latest obsession: The Fluffernutter.
It's been about a year, I'm guessing, since I bought a loaf of sandwich bread at the supermarket. We're kind of spoiled now, sure. But baking bread has just become one of those things I do -- like laundry or dishes or complaining about Chicago parking meters -- only much more rewarding. And tasty.
I like to make two or three loaves at a time. After they've cooled, I slice each one in half and cut each half into slices. I wrap each half in plastic, label them and toss them in the freezer. Depending on how much I give away, this usually lasts us a couple of weeks or so. Not bad for a few minutes of work and a few hours of waiting, no?
But, as with all of the cooking and baking I do, I get tired of making the same things over and over again. So, I'm always on the lookout for new sandwich loaf recipes.
I peeked in the freezer this morning and realized our bread stash had run low. So, I set about finding a new recipe. The fine folks on Twitter offered some good suggestions, as did my cookbooks. But then I went to one of my favorite sites for bread recipes, King Arthur Flour. If you can't find something to bake there, you must have your eyes closed.
I had some steel-cut oats lingering in the pantry since winter, so this Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Toasting Bread caught my eye. Rolled oats, steel-cut oats and a hefty dose of brown sugar sounded like a winning combo. I decided to sub in a little whole-wheat flour, too. And double the recipe, of course. Why make one loaf when you can have two for the same amount of effort?
I haven't actually had my Toasting bread toasted yet. But I can report that it is sweet and nutty and surprisingly tender. The Kid already enjoyed it as a Fluffernutter holder. Personally, I think this bread is better suited to a savory sandwich, since it's already quite sweet.
I think I see a BLT with my name on it.
From King Arthur Flour
Makes one loaf, but doubles easily
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) boiling water
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) steel-cut oats or Irish oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) lightly packed brown sugar
2 3/4 cups (11 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (I used two-thirds bread flour to one-third whole-wheat flour.)
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) nonfat dried milk
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup (3/4 ounce) milled flaxseed or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Combine the boiling water, oats, steel-cut oats and sugar in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir a couple of times to combine and let sit until lukewarm. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring by hand or with a paddle attachment until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl.
Knead for 6-8 minutes by hand, or 5-8 minutes in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. The dough should become smooth and supple. (I ended up dumping this out of my stand mixer with a few minutes' remaining to knead it by hand on the counter. Seemed to come together better that way.)
Transfer to a greased bowl and let rise 'til puffy (though not necessarily doubled), about 1 hour.
Shape the dough into a loaf and put in a lightly greased 8 1/2X4 1/2-inch bread pan. (I only have 9X5 pans, but it turned out just fine.) Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has just crowned over the edge of the pan.
Bake the bread in a preheated 375-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes. It should be golden and have an internal temperature of about 200 degrees. If it's browning too quickly, tent with foil.
Once baked, turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
This isn't a fancy loaf of bread, but it sure is satisfying. It's been a while since I've sent anything over to Yeastspotting, but I think I'll submit this one. It's a keeper.