We don’t own a bread machine. Call me old-fashioned if you will, but I like to make my bread by hand.
When I lived at home in England with my parents they had a bread machine. It made good bread, but I always thought the loaves ended up being quite similar no matter which recipe was used – similar textures, similar flavours. Plus I enjoy the process of making bread by hand. I enjoy mixing it and kneading it, and getting covered in dough!
This loaf doesn’t actually require any kneading. We’ve made it oh, countless times, and it’s really very simple to make. I love that it uses oats and whole grain flour; it is just as tasty as a white loaf (I would argue more so) but is far healthier.
We’ve somewhat adapted the recipe from the original. When we first made the loaf we felt it was a bit too sweet so we’ve cut the honey down. We also experimented a bit with the salt. We’ve used regular table salt, and also sea salt. I tend to chuck the sea salt in with the oats as they are grinding, because this helps to evenly distribute the salt. Sometimes though I just throw the crystals into the mixture after the grinding, which results in delicious bursts of saltiness dotted through the loaf. I like it both ways, so it’s up to you how you do it.
We generally use an “oat” mixture that we bought from a nearby shop. It’s a factory shop for a large bakery company here in Finland. (Actually the chain makes all sorts of things, including sweets and chocolate, but the factory by us only bakes. It smells great.) We initially bought the mixture to have as porridge; it’s a high fibre mix, a combination of oat flakes, rye flakes, flax seeds. To be honest it makes for terrible breakfast. Really not tasty. But it is perfect for this bread, adding an extra dimension of flavour (and healthiness!) Of course I know that not everyone can get their hands on this mixture, but regular oats work just as well.
Even with reduced honey this load is a little on the sweet side. Personally I think that’s a good thing because I can have some to curb my sweet cravings and avoid eating pudding all the time. I’ll often have a thick slice spread with butter, and a glass of milk to wash it down. Delicious. I have had it with home-made chocolate hazelnut spread, which was very good. I imagine it would also be very tasty with jam or marmalade, but I can’t say for certain because I am a terribly fussy person who won’t touch fruit even if you pay me.
That’s not entirely true. For one thing it depends how much money is involved. And what the fruit is. Plus I’m getting better with fruit these days. I’m trying things more often. I even ate wild strawberries recently! But I still won’t go near bananas. Blech.
I seem to have gone off on a tangent here… How about that recipe? Here it is!
Easy Oat Bread
Source - A for Aubergine
Servings - makes 1 loaf
Time - approximately 40 minutes (20-25 minutes baking time)
1 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt (I tend to just guesstimate the amount of salt)
1 tbsp honey, maple syrup or agave syrup
1 tbsp oil (you want a fairly plain syrup such as canola/rapeseed or sunflower)
1 cup milk (the lower the fat content the healthier, of course, but you’ll also lose some taste. You could probably substitute water if you really want.)
Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. Grease your loaf pan*.
Measure the oats (and optionally the salt) into a food processor and grind until flour-y looking.
In a large bowl mix together the ground oats, flour and baking powder. Add the salt if not used earlier.
In a small bowl or pot stir together the honey and oil, then stir in the milk.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring to form a soft dough.
Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan. If you like, sprinkle some extra oats on the top for decoration.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until it is nice and golden, and smells ready**.
Remove from the oven and stand on a wire rack to cool. You should be able to turn the bread out after it has cooled for about ten minutes. The bread will cut better if allowed to cool completely, but it is also very nice eaten when it is still slightly warm from the oven.
*I don’t recommend cooking sprays as they use nasty things as propellants… Oil or butter is perfect. If you have a silicone pan you may not need to grease it, although I would also note that some bakers suggest that you shouldn’t use silicone for bread as it doesn’t get the same “dry heat” as metal pans. We’ve made this with both metal pans and silicone pans and either seems to work, so the choice is yours.
** You can tell that bread is done by tapping on the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it is ready. Don’t forget it is hot, so make sure you don’t burn yourself!
I hope you like the recipe! I’d love to hear from you if you make it; do let me know how it turns out. If you’re lucky I might soon post the recipe for the home-made chocolate spread I mentioned…
PS, Apologies for the lack of pictures. I did take several but the lighting wasn’t great, and most of those that were reasonably lit ended up blurry… I shall endeavour to do better!
Do you prefer to make bread by hand or in a bread machine? Do you have any go-to bread recipes to share?