I admit, I was half-expecting these oatmeal loaves (from Hamelman's Bread) to turn out disastrously as I was plagued with so much doubt and uncertainty while I was making the dough. Whenever I make pan breads, the dough is oftentimes very slack and slightly tacky while this one was actually very stiff (though a little sticky because of the honey) causing me to wonder if I should've added more water to the mix. After going through a few bread baking failures recently, I didn't want to risk another one by altering the formula even if it meant just adding a little water. A little dissuaded, I still pressed on though and even did an overnight bulk fermentation which is an optional step in all of Hamelman's straight dough breads. Come morning, the dough was even stiffer for obvious reasons but it certainly wasn't an encouraging sight for me and I was even tempted to throw all of it away and start all over again.
Well thankfully I didn't give in to that urge as my loaves miraculously turned out OK and all it needed really was just a little patience (hmmm sounds like a song I know). I was just amazed at how the dough, which barely took up space at the bottom of the pan, rose all the way up to the brim and beyond. It took really long for this to happen though because of the chill from the fridge but I'm just glad that I gave this a chance. Note to self: Be patient!! Oh, and never doubt any of Hamelman's formulas LOL.
(Adapted from Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman)
Yield: 2, 1-lb loaves
High-gluten flour 340 grams
Whole-wheat flour 113 grams
Rolled Oats 75 grams
Water 284 grams
Milk 50 grams
Honey 34 grams
Vegetable oil 34 grams
Salt 10 grams
Instant yeast 2 grams
TOTAL 943 grams
1. Place the oats in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer and add all the water and mix with a wooden spoon to wet all the oats. Let stand for 15 minutes to soften. Add all the ingredients to the bowl and mix on low speed (speed 2 KitchenAid) to incorporate all the ingredients thoroughly. The dough should be moderately loose with a slight tackiness from the honey. Turn the mixer to second speed (speed 4 KA) and mix until moderate gluten development is achieved, about 5 minutes.
2. Bulk ferment for 2 hours or retard the dough overnight (highly recommended). If retarding, leave to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature before placing in the fridge. Degas by pressing lightly on the dough a few times during the first few hours in the fridge.
3. If no OR, stretch and fold after 1 hour. Prepare a tray filled with rolled oats and a damp towel beside it. Pre-heat oven to 460 F an hour before baking.
4. Divide the dough into 2 - 450 to 500 gram rounds and bench rest for 15 minutes covering each with plastic film beforehand. Shape each round into a loaf and dip the surface in the damp towel and roll completely with oats. You can roll only the top surface with oats if desired. Place the loaves in lightly oiled 8 x 4 loaf pans. Cover each with plastic film and proof for 1 to 1.5 hours or even up to 2.5 hours if the dough came from the fridge. The loaves are ready if they have domed and a gentle poke with your finger leaves a dent.
5. Bake at 460 F lowering the temperature about 20 to 30 degrees after 15 minutes as the milk, honey, and oil will make the loaves brown faster. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes more after that totaling about 30 - 35 minutes for the entire bake.
*Submitting this post to YeastSpotting*