oat and apple cider bread: a favorite with a rich, hearty soup ::::
My obsession with baking bread started in high school. It was a summer as a daytime assistant to the pastry chef at a restaurant in Maine that turned me, yeast wafting from the kitchen daily, mingling with aromas of fish stocks, Linzer tortes, and stale beer from kitchen staff afterhour parties. I remember when I found Bernard Clayton’s The New Complete Book of Breads at a bookstore in Northeast Harbor. I felt I had just won the jackpot when I walked out of the bookstore with it in hand. It didn’t take too much cajoling my mother for her to buy it for me; I think she was just as excited as I was to explore the tome.
Although we tried quite a few recipes, I still after 20 years (has it really been that long??) have yet to really scratch the surface. I’m delving into the book again, eyes crazed to the many recipes to try. My biggest problem is that I get sidetracked. With another bread book. By another author. And my “to-do” list becomes just a teensy bit longer.
Blame it on my mom. Not surprisingly, it was my mom who found this recipe from a book by food historian Patricia B. Mitchell. Mum made this bread for a family dinner and it was gone in 10 minutes. Ten minutes. It’s a unique recipe with the use of apple cider. I felt it gave a sweet, earthy flavor to the bread, enhanced by the oatmeal. Even though it is a sweeter bread, it is excellent with dinner, served with a tangy green salad and a salty meat. It’s great toasted the next morning with jam, that is, if you have any leftovers. My mom suggests if the sweetness seems too much, edge down the brown sugar by half.
oat and apple cider yeast bread
Author: story of a kitchen (gently adapted from Loaves of Love, Wholegrain Yeast Breads by Patricia B. Mitchell)
Recipe type: bread
- 1 cup oatmeal, uncooked
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1½ cups apple cider (not apple juice)
- 1 packet yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- 1½ cups white bread flour
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup more flour if dough is too sticky
- Combine oats, brown sugar, butter, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.
- Boil apple cider and add to oat mixture above, stir well. Cool to lukewarm then add yeast. I used my handy instant-read thermometer to ensure my temperature was between 115 degrees F and 120 degrees F before adding my yeast. Any hotter, and the yeast gets too hot and dies. So sad.
- Add 1½ cups of flour to mixture to form a soft sponge. ( I used 1 cup of white and ½ cup of whole wheat to start.) Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Allow to rise for one hour or until doubled in volume.
- Stir down and add enough of the remaining flour (1 cup whole wheat and ½ cup of white) to make a firm dough.
- Knead on lightly floured surface about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic* or until dough comes to top of pans.
- Shape into loaf and place into 9 x 5-inch bread pan. Cover loosely and allow to rise for one hour.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes and loaf is browned.** Loaf will not sound hollow when tapped.
* My dough was not really smooth looking but nice and elastic. I attribute it to the lumpiness of the old-fashioned oatmeal I used because all other parts of the kneading seemed correct. ** I kept second guessing the doneness and took it out too soon at 45 minutes without checking the temperature. Although tasty with butter when warm, the middle of the loaf was a little underdone. That being said, this is a very moist and dense bread so don't expect a light, airy texture. Use an instant read thermometer if you have one. Flip the bread out of its pan and poke the thermometer into the bread's underside. With this bread full of butter and oatmeal, aim for a temperature between 200 and 210 degrees F. Learn from me: don't be lazy if you are in doubt. Check the temperature and you'll enjoy perfectly baked bread.