I love oatmeal bread with its slightly cake-like texture and that touch of sweetness from the honey. As my Mom used to say, 'It's ALMOST better than cake'.
I always used to make bread by hand. There is something therapeutic about kneading the dough and knowing this is how it's been done for centuries. Lately I've been letting my Kitchenaid mixer do all the heavy work. At first I felt guilty, as if it was cheating.
After a few baking sessions I've gotten over it. You can easily make this bread by hand, but I am going to show you how to do it with a mixer and a dough hook, after all, that's how the best bakeries do it.
HONEY and OATMEAL BREAD
3 cups flour - I used bread flour but plain flour will work
1/4 cup runny honey
1 cup boiling water
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup porridge oats (old fashioned not instant)
2 teaspoons or one packet of dried yeast
Place the oats into the bowl of the mixer. Pour over the boiling water, add the butter and honey. Mix with the dough hook to combine. Leave the oat mixture to cool until the outside of bowl feels JUST warm.
Add the yeast and one cup of the flour. Mix with the dough hook until the flour is combined with the oat mixture. Add another cup of flour and repeat the mixing process. Finally, add the final cup of flour, set the speed to a slow position and leave the dough hook to knead the dough. This should take about 5 minutes or so.
When the dough looks smooth and elastic it is ready to rise. Cover the bowl with a bit of plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. After about an hour, the dough should be doubled in size. Punch it down, cover the bowl, and let it rise again.
While the dough rises a second time, heat the oven to 375F/180C and grease a standard loaf tin.
Form the dough into a loaf, I do this by making a fat sausage shape. Place the loaf into the greased baking tin, cover with a bit of plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to double in size. You can slash the top of the loaf if you like. It makes me feel all 'artisan baker-ish' to slash but it's not necessary.
Bake for about 30 minutes. If you think the top is getting brown too quickly, turn down the heat a little.
The bread is ready when it is golden brown and sounds hollows when you gently thump it. Remove the bread from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.
Now here's the hard part... do not cut the loaf until it has cooled completely. I know... it's cruel, but do try. Then you can enjoy a slice of that slightly cakey, slightly sweet, almost-better-than-cake Honey and Oatmeal Bread.