- 2 cups warm water
- 2 packages (4 and 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water to soften it; stir to dissolve. Add the flour and stir till smooth. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes or till doubled.
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2/3 cup skim milk powder
- 1 cup cooked oatmeal
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
After the sponge has risen, stir it until it deflates and stir in the honey, milk powder, oatmeal, and butter. In a separate bowl, combine the salt and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the other bowl and stir the dough until it comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead it for about 8 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as you go to keep it from sticking to the board. The dough should be pushing back a little and have an elastic feel. Cut the dough in half and let it rest under a kitchen towel for ten minutes or so while you grease two loaf pans. To keep bread from sticking, I’ve been making a slurry out of flour and cooking oil and painting a thin layer on with a pastry brush–this seems to be no-fail for me. But you can try using butter or shortening.
Shape the dough into loaves (I flatten each piece into a rectangle longer than the pan, then roll first the long sides, then the short sides under, pinching the seams to seal them.) Put the loaves seam-side down in the pans and cover them with the towel. Let them rise until the loaves form rounded tops above the edge of the pans. This won’t take more than an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375. Put a broiler pan or some other kind of metal pan on a lower shelf, to hold water for steam. Also, put some water on to boil.
Slash each loaf lengthwise down the center with a sharp knife or a razor blade. Brush the surface with cold water. Right before you put the pans in, pour 3/4 of a cup of hot water into the pan in the oven to make steam, then quickly put the bread pans in and close the oven. This will give you a good crust.
Bake for 35 minutes, then take the loaves out of the pans and bake them on the oven rack for another ten minutes. Tap the side of the loaf: a done loaf will sound hollow. Cool the loaves on a rack.