Thursday, March 5, 2009

{Adventures in Yeast} #5 - KA Oatmeal Honey Bread

I love how much oatmeal is in the ingredient list of the this King Arthur Oatmeal Honey bread - this is a true oatmeal bread! I baked this bread twice. The first time - about two weeks ago - I had trouble getting it to rise, even though my yeast-magician husband came by and tucked it under the covers with great care! It ended up dense and a bit undercooked (it did reach the specified internal temperature of 190 degrees). The flavor was so good that on a snowy afternoon in March (yes, snow in March. In Atlanta!) I gave it another try to see if I'd have any better luck the second time around.

I surmised that my problem with the first loaf was that I didn't mix/knead it enough and that I used softened butter when I probably should have melted it (the recipe doesn't specify). I also wanted to make sure I put it in my warmest spot to rise - the first time I'd put it in my medium-warm spot.

On the second go around, I kneaded it for several minutes until it seemed to have the right "springy" quality. It rose very well, doubling in about 2 hours. The second rise was a lot slower. I gave it a good long while, but the bread maxed out at 1" over the pan's rim, rather than the 1 1/2" the recipe was aiming for (but a bit higher than the first time). I finally decided to just bake it. This time I left it in the oven for a few extra minutes, until the thermometer registered 200 degrees. It still turned out moist and dense inside, but it was an improvement over the first loaf. The crust has a nice crunch, and, again, it tastes fantastic as toast.

The reviews on the KA site show that others have had problems with this bread's rising. I guess I could add some vital wheat gluten (I have a new package that I haven't tried yet), but I'd have to figure out how. Since I'm such a new bread baker, I don't know where and how things go wrong, or really how to fix them. Mostly I'm amazed every time a bread does rise and turn out well!

the verdict:

Despite the dense super-moist state of the bread, it had great flavor. It makes unbeatable toast. Although I would like it to have risen more (as the recipe seems to have expected) and have a slightly more open crumb, I'm not going to forget about this bread - it's one of my husband's favorites!

16 comments:

pinkstripes said...

It's the oatmeal, especially since you said there was a lot. It interferes with the gluten. Hearty breads with whole grains and oatmeal have trouble rising because the sharp edges of the grains, etc can break the gluten strings during the rise. It's also why 100% whole wheat breads are dense.

Your loaf looks great. I love oatmeal bread.

Audrey said...

I would love this bread, too, so thank you for pioneering it. I think you're absolutely right about yeast baking - I'm in the same place, not knowing-wise. What always surprises me is how often the end product is good even when the process isn't smooth. BTW, the cream of oatmeal bread in the Fannie Farmer Baking Book is an old favorite of mine (it's less whole grainy, but you could change that!)

Pinkstripe's comment is fascinating!
Audrey

Cathy said...

Everything about this bread sounds wonderful to me. Even if mine ends up undercooked, it's nothing a little toasting can't remedy, right? I'm also fascinated by pinkstripe's comment. If the oatmeal interferes with the gluten, it seems like your instincts are correct and that adding some of that wheat gluten might help. In any event, I think it looks great as is. Perfect for a snowy afternoon!

Jessica said...

I have this recipe marked to make. As much as I love the KAF book, there are some recipes in there that have been colossal flops for me (most specifically, the chocolate croissants). Glad you liked it evene though it was on the dense side and I have new inspiration to make this bread. Just reading your post made my mouth water.

Elyse said...

I love all the recipes that KA has to offer! This bread looks great, and it's good to know about the potentially difficult/finnicky rising process. I can't wait to try this one!

Sweet Charity said...

Once again, another beautiful bread!!
I've got an oatmeal molasses bread in mind for the weekend.
In any case, I just wanted to let you know I'm passing on an award to you because I've found your blog to be particularly inspiring over the past little while- thanks for all you hard work! And do swing by to pick up you award!

Jess said...

Funny, I was just thinking of making the lazy woman's version of this bread this afternoon - KA sent me a free box of oatmeal bread mix with my last order. Your loaf looks great - let's see how mine measures up!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

When I first started baking breads, I added tons of gluten (vital wheat gluten) to every recipe I made. At some point, I was making a loaf and I had none in the pantry. I've never looked back.
Any bread with ingredients over white unbleached flour, water, salt and yeast adds to the difficulty level of the bread.
Two things I'd suggest as you learn
1 alternate the very basic bread recipes with ones like this one
2 try to find someone who's baked breads awhile to bake with a few times. Feel the doughs with and exchange experience. I love the internet and descriptive words are wonderfully helpful but when it comes to kneading bread touching is the ultimate education. It happens with every dough you knead.
One of the hardest things for me with heavy breads is getting them done and not over done. Temperature has been the most help to me. For me (which maybe my thermometer) 205° seems to give me the best results with my oat meal bread. It's my husband's favorite of all my breads.
Keep kneading!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

When I first started baking breads, I added tons of gluten (vital wheat gluten) to every recipe I made. At some point, I was making a loaf and I had none in the pantry. I've never looked back.
Any bread with ingredients over white unbleached flour, water, salt and yeast adds to the difficulty level of the bread.
Two things I'd suggest as you learn
1 alternate the very basic bread recipes with ones like this one
2 try to find someone who's baked breads awhile to bake with a few times. Feel the doughs with and exchange experience. I love the internet and descriptive words are wonderfully helpful but when it comes to kneading bread touching is the ultimate education. It happens with every dough you knead.
One of the hardest things for me with heavy breads is getting them done and not over done. Temperature has been the most help to me. For me (which maybe my thermometer) 205° seems to give me the best results with my oat meal bread. It's my husband's favorite of all my breads.
Keep kneading!!

Debbie said...

Oh does that bread look wonderful. Someday I will get up the courage and try making my own bread.

Pam said...

All of my grain breads are more dense and don't rise as much. I just don't think you can duplicate a light airy loaf with lots of grains.

natalia said...

Ciao ! I'll try this bread oatmeal is so good ! to understand if I (or the mixer kneaded enough I mesure the temperature which must reach 78 F and for doness I mesure 200 F :I hope it is of some help.

TeaLady said...

I love all the bread you are making. Keep it up. It is soooo much fun. I will have to add this one to my to do list....

Di said...

Oatmeal bread is on my list of things to try. I'll have to keep this recipe in mind. Especially if it's that great for toast. Great job! =)

Katrina said...

Love homemade breads, especially when extra nutrition is added, like oats. Great job.

Carla said...

I usually rely on my bread maker than making yeast bread by hand. Go you! Maybe I'll follow you and start making bread by hand.