It's time for another ABC post and this October's bake is The Weekend Baker's Honey Oatmeal Bread which I really, really loved! This has got to be the best tasting honey oatmeal bread I've ever tried and I especially loved the pronounced honey flavor and sweetness in the bread given the generous 1/3 cup that's in it. I've encountered many recipes that claim to be honey breads but I always get puzzled why they would even put "honey" in the title when all they make you add is 2 tablespoons of honey at the most. I'm glad that this recipe didn't skimp on it and it was so easy to make as well. It's super delicious on its own that I never even ate it with anything else but I bet this would make excellent French toast. What I also liked about this bread is that it stayed really moist and soft throughout the 2 days it took us to finish it. I think the reason for this was the use of milk to hydrate the flour instead of water. The next time I make this I'm turning it into dinner rolls and top the surface with oatmeal flakes.
Like any bread with milk and a good amount of sweeteners, this will brown really quickly during baking so I covered the surface with aluminum foil about 15 - 20 minutes into the bake. My oven's pretty uneven with the way it circulates heat so it was an important step to rotate the pan inside the oven for even browning. I actually rotated the pan a little too late as one side blackened considerably although it thankfully had no bitter taste to it. Given this issue it became harder to gauge the doneness of the loaf so I used an instant read thermometer and brought the bread out when it registered about 190 F in the center. Abby suggested brushing the top with melted butter immediately after bringing the bread out of the oven and I highly recommend doing this step as it made the crust so soft and gave a wonderful flavor to it as well.
There were a few changes that I made to the recipe. I used low-fat milk instead of whole milk and decreased the amount of instant yeast to 1 1/2 teaspoons instead of 2 1/4 teaspoons which I thought was too much for one loaf of bread. These changes worked out fine but lessening the yeast made the dough take longer to double in size during both bulk fermentation and proofing. I also did a few stretch and folds during bulk fermentation which compensated for the insufficient gluten structure during mixing. Because of the browning issues I also lowered the oven temperature by a few degrees.
ETA: Ooops I completely forgot to mention that I substituted about 60 grams of the UBAP with white whole wheat flour.
If you would like to join ABC or just check out my fellow ABC bakers' take on this month's recipe, head on over to the ABC blog!