Recipe by Michelle McGrath, bestselling cookbook author. Learn more about The Creative Table cookbook here!
3 c. boiling water
2 c. quick-cooking oats
2 T. butter
2 T. active dry yeast (not quick rise)
½ c. warm water
½ c. molasses
1 T. salt
2 c. bread flour
¼ c. dry milk powder
5-6 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
Cooking spray or oil for pan/bowl greasing
1 egg, room temperature
2 T. old fashioned or quick-cooking oats
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, or in a large bowl (to be used with a hand mixer), combine the boiling water, oatmeal and butter. Let stand 30 minutes until cool.
In a small bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water, let stand for 10 minutes until the mixture foams and begins to rise. Add the yeast mixture, molasses and salt to the cooled oatmeal, stir to combine.
With your mixer set to low speed, stir in the 2 cups of bread flour and milk powder until well combined. Slowly add in enough of the all-purpose flour to make a kneadable dough 1 cup at a time, about 5 to 5 ½ cups in total. The dough will still be sticky.
Increase the mixer speed to medium, and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough peels away from the sides of the bowl and makes an intact dough ball, up to ½ cup if needed. The dough will still be sticky.
Transfer dough to a large, greased bowl. Turn dough to coat and cover with a clean, greased inverted plate or greased wax paper and towel, and let rise until doubled, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Grease two 9 x 5” loaf pans. Punch down the dough and divide evenly into two balls. Flour your hands, shape the dough into loaves and place into prepared pans. Cover with a greased sheet of wax paper and towel and allow to rise until doubled and rising above the pan rim, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using a fork, vigorously beat the egg in a small bowl. Coat the top of the loaves gently with the beaten egg using a pastry brush, taking care to not deflate the risen loaf. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 T dry oats. Bake the loaves, about 35-40 minutes, or until the center reaches 190 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Turn the loaves out of the pans onto a wire rack to cool before slicing or packaging.
Note: This bread makes the BEST toast! Toast to the dark side to enjoy the caramelized taste of the molasses, spread liberally with butter and cinnamon (and sugar if you wish!). I like to use my toaster oven and toast the bread to nearly done, then spread with butter and cinnamon and return to finish. It yields a brûlée-style crunch to the top! This loaf is also an excellent sandwich bread untoasted.