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!
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!