Three months ago we started a journey when we realized that refined sugar made our kid crazy. At that point, we were buying white bread, quick convenience foods, and snacks that were made of a whole lot more sugar than we realized. A few months, and a lot of changes later, we’ve nearly eliminated the refined sugar from the foods we eat at-home (and the foods we make), a healthy transition for everyone in the house. Making small changes, over time, can help to make these lifestyle changes easier.
Baking your own bread ensures that you know exactly what’s going in to it. It also saves you a bundle if you’re buying organic bread, as the ingredients are less expensive to purchase in bulk (most of the time).
Baking your own bread also means that you’re going to have to set aside some time. Though there is less than twenty minutes of actually ‘active cooking’ in this recipe, as with all good breads, there’s a lot of waiting around for things to rise – three hours in fact. For this reason, you can schedule once a week bread making and determine how many loaves you’re going to need for the week.
Delicious Honey Oat Bread
3 cups flour
3/4 cups oats
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons quick yeast
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon oats
Combine the flour, oats, salt and quick yeast and give it a quick turn in the mixer to combine everything.
Heat the milk over medium heat, just enough to melt the butter. Add the water, and the honey, and mix.
Pour over the flour and oats and use the dough hook in the stand mixer for 5-7 minutes or knead by hand for 10 minutes. The dough may be sticky, but you can add a tiny bit of flour (don’t add too much, it won’t rise well) to it if you need to work with it.
After the dough has been mixed together, place in an oiled bowl, covered and let rise for ninety minutes.
Place on to the counter and makethe dough flat, to about 9 x 14 using your hands (not a rolling pin). After it’s flat, roll it tightly into a loaf, placing the loaf into the bread pan. Let rise for another ninety minutes. If you were adding cheese, or cinnamon or raisins, this would be the perfect time to add those ingredients.
Note: during the winter when it’s cold in here, I don’t get a good rise unless I turn on the oven and preheat it while I’m trying to rise it, or turn up the heat in the house and make sure that it’s warm enough in here.
Warm 2 tablespoons of honey and brush on to the top of the bread, sprinkle some oats on top of the loaf.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, checking for hollow sounding bread to determine if it’s done.
Cool completely on a baking rack for twenty to thirty minutes.
Note: The original recipe that we tweaked to make the bread work for us suggested using a high sided baking pan, on the bottom rack filled with 2 cups of boiling water while cooking. It keeps the oven humid and moist, making pretty, cracked top bread.
If you’re going to make bread at-home, it’s easiest if you triple or quadruple the recipe. This way, you can make as many loaves as you need for the week. Bread is time consuming, and easiest if you do it once a week. Since we go through a lot of honey, we usually buy it at Costco, where I find it’s the best price. This has been a great kid-approved alternative for everything from toast, sandwiches and grilled cheese.