Thursday, 24 April 2014

Wholewheat Honey Oats Bread

When it comes to baking, I am always quite pepped up and do not mind taking that extra effort of baking something exotic at home. Today's recipe was a trial run for wholewheat bread (my previous attempts never gave me satisfactory results) ahead of my in-laws arrival next week. It will be quite a hectic schedule for me and so I want to plan my days well in advance. With husband travelling most of the days and no domestic help, I am getting myself prepared for a major social storm. Also, staying away from India and from family and with my husband's frequent tours, I have become quite a loner and so the idea of someone (be it my own family) coming and staying with us is quite intimidating. Nevertheless, I do not have any option and so I should rather make the best of this time by trying new dishes and recipes and experimenting with a few. So be prepared to see a whole lot of interesting recipes, mostly pure vegetarian, and delight yourself and your loved ones by recreating these in your own space.

1 3/4 cup wholemeal flour (you can use regular aata/wholewheat flour)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats ( I used rolled oats as that is what I had at hand)
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter (I used low fat Olive Butter)
1/3 cup milk powder
1/4 cup honey
2 1/4 tsp instant active dry yeast

1 1/3 cup warm water

For brushing
1 1/2 tbsp melted honey
Oats for sprinkling

In a bowl, mix the warm water and honey and dissolve the yeast. Let it stand until frothy for about 10 minutes.

Mix the flours, oats, milk powder, and salt. Now take a big bowl, and pour in the yeast mixture. Add the melted or softened butter and slowly add the flour mix and start kneading until everything is combined. This is the most daunting part as the dough will be too sticky and wet and you will be inclined to add more flour. At this point, I oiled my hands with a little olive oil and continued kneading patiently until the dough was still wet but non sticky and no longer entirely sticking onto the kneading surface or your hands (a bit is okay). Since it is wholemeal flour, it is important that the dough is wet and not dry.
Now lightly oil the dough and also the bowl and keep it covered in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2-2 hours. My dough was almost overflowing out of the bowl in 2 hours. So ensure that your bowl is big enough to allow the space for it to rise. Once the first proofing is done, take the dough out and gently pull the edges sideways and fold back in. Repeat for a few times and then give it your desired shape or put it inside a greased loaf tin for the second proofing, about 1/2-1 hour. Towards the end of the second proofing, pre-heat the oven at 180 degree celsius. Meanwhile, brush the top of the dough generously with melted honey and sprinkle oats gently pressing into the dough so that it sticks. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes until golden on top. You might find the top a bit soft even after 40 minutes and might be inclined to bake it further. I did so and left it for another 10 minutes without checking which is why my crust got a bit burnt towards the edges. The bread is actually done in the first 40 minutes or max 45 minutes and the crust hardens while cooling.
Remove from the loaf pan and let it cool "completely" before slicing. Unlike hot cakes, hot bread is not good to eat! I enjoyed my slice of homemade bread with this yummy Apple and Cranberry Chutney.

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