It has been a month since my grandmother passed. I continue to walk around in a fog, seeing and hearing her everywhere I go. Maybe at some point, I will continue my story of Ann and Tess based on my relationship with her. Maybe I’ll share her final days with you. Maybe not. For now, I’ll continue to bake and cook. I feel closer to her when I do as she was an excellent cook and baker.
I made bread for the first time. This recipe hails from America’s Test Kitchen Cook It In Your Dutch Oven cookbook. This bread is a project. It’s a commitment but like most things that take time, it is worth it. Rustic, earthy, slightly sweet, toasts well and especially satisfying with a generous slab of butter are all great descriptions but really you should just make it and find out for yourself.
Oatmeal Raisin Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Cook it in Your Dutch Oven Cookbook
1 cup (3 ounces) old-fashion rolled oats
¾ cup (6 ounces) water, at room temperature
2 cups (11 ounces) bread flour
½ cup (2 ¾ ounces) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast or rapid-rise yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup raisins
Microwave ¾ cup oats and water in a large bowl. Be sure bowl is covered. Stir occasionally until oats are soft and water is completely absorbed, 5 minutes or so. Cool completely and set aside.
Using the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk bread flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast, and salt. Whisk melted butter and milk together in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Attach the dough hook and begin mixing on low speed. Very slowly, add milk/butter mixture to flour mixture. Mix until a dough forms and no dry flour is visible about 2 minutes. You may need to scrape down the bowl as you mix.
Increase the speed to medium/low kneading the dough until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add raisins. Next, slowly add oatmeal two tablespoons at a time. Mix until well combined, about 3 minutes. Lightly grease a large bowl. Transfer dough to bowl and cover tightly with plastic. Allow rising for 30 minutes.
Using your fingertips gently fold the dough over itself by folding the edge of the dough toward the middle. Turn bowl 45 degrees and fold again. Turn bowl and fold 6 more times, 8 folds total. Cover tightly with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat the process of folding and rising every 30 minutes, 2 more times. After the 3rd fold and rise process, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes to 1 ¼ hours.
Place a large piece of parchment paper, about 18x12inches, on the counter and spray with vegetable oil spray. Transfer dough to parchment paper. Stretch dough to 10-inch round. Be sure to deflate any gas pockets bigger than 1-inch. Working around the perimeter of the dough, fold the edges towards the center until ball forms. Flip dough so the seam of the dough ball is now on the bottom. Cup your hands and drag tiny circles on the counter until dough is stiff and round. Mist the dough lightly with water on all sides. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of oats and press gently so the oats adhere to the dough.
Place loaf, seam side down, on the parchment paper. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let dough rise until loaf increases in size to about half and the dough slightly bounces back when gently pushed with your knuckle, anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Thirty minutes prior to baking place your Dutch oven with the lid on in the oven on the lowest rack. Pre-heat the oven to 500F.
Slash the bread with a sharp paring knife, making two 5-inch long and a ½ inch deep slashes to form a cross in the center of the bread. Remove any exposed raisins.
Remove Dutch oven from oven and place on wire rack. Remove the lid. Using the parchment as a sling, lower the dough into the Dutch oven. Tuck in any excess parchment paper and place the lid back on the Dutch oven. Place in oven and reduce the temperature to 425F. Bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until the loaf is a deep golden brown and the temperature of the bread is 200 to 210 degrees, about 20 minutes.
Using the parchment paper sling, remove the bread and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely for 3 hours, before cutting and serving. Enjoy!
5 Delicious Bread Links
Alexandra’s Kitchen is my favorite blog. I have yet to try a recipe that isn’t completely satisfying and delicious. Check out her recipes for the easiest focaccia bread and the best no-knead brioche buns. They will not disappoint!
Food 52 claims their milk bread recipe will produce the most addictive bread you will ever eat. Curious? Here is the recipe.