Honey Oat Bread

In Sunday school a few weeks ago, the Young Women lesson was “How can I prepare now to become a righteous wife and mother?“. The challenge that was given at the end of the lesson was to watch a video called Mothers and Daughters. Each young woman was to watch it with her mother. When I watched this video I began to recall all the many things I learned from my mom, and especially the things that are influencing me not that I am also a mom. I always laugh to myself when I say something to my son and realize that I sounded exactly like my own mom. 

I have always appreciated waking up early in the morning and coming out into the living room to see my mom studying her scriptures. I never doubted that she knew the gospel and the doctrines of the scriptures. She has always had a desire to learn. This was apparent during the school year as she searched out subject materials for us to study together, but she always had her own field of interest to pursue as well. She has a library of books and countless journals of her thoughts and insights from what she learned. 

She taught me that people can change deeply ingrained habits or personality traits. She taught me to be more patient. She taught me how to serve. She taught me how to sew, she taught me many things about gardening, and she taught me how to cook and make bread. I have to admit, I didn’t pay much attention to the bread making, at the time, but the cooking had a big impact on me (obviously). Now, however, many of those bread making lessons are beginning to come to play, and what I don’t remember, she has re-instructed me over the phone.

Limi asked me a while back if I would make homemade bread. I made it a few times growing up, but I wasn’t a big bread eater as a child, and now, two years into marriage I still didn’t even own a bread pan. I went out and bought myself a pan and got bread recipes from my mom and sister. This recipe originated with my mom, who created it to use her food storage. My sister adapted it to use oatmeal, and I adapted it to use fresh milk rather than powdered. Whether or not you have a food storage in need of rotating, this bread recipe is great for starters and it is hard to goof up. Trust me, I would know, since my house was super cold when I tried to rise my bread the first time, and it never doubled in size. The bread still turned out great though!

Our family tricks for making bread include:
  • Make the water as warm as a bath (not too hot but not too cold)
  • Always wait 3-5 minutes after putting the yeast in the water, to make sure it activates. This way you won’t waste all the bread ingredients if your yeast isn’t good any more.
  • If you choose to use more than half of the flour as whole wheat flour, add 1/2 TBS extra yeast, because wheat flour is more dense and it needs extra help to rise.
  • When adding flour, you want your dough to be smooth and soft (we always say “like a baby’s bum”).
  • Put your bread in a warm place to rise. You could also put a warm towel over the bowl.
  • If you want to freeze bread dough: allow the dough to rise the first time. Form it into a bread loaf and then wrap it well and freeze it before it rises the second time. To bake the frozen dough, remove it from the freezer and place it in a warm place. Allow it to thaw and rise before baking it, as normal.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 TBS yeast
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 TBS salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups wheat flour
2-3 cups white flour
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup old fashioned oats

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast in a bowl with the warm water (I do this in my Bosch bread mixer). Slowly mix the yeast and water for 3-5 minutes, to make sure the yeast gets foamy. Once you have confirmed that your yeast is good, add the honey, oil, milk, egg and salt. Stir to combine.
Add the oats, wheat flour and 2 cups of the white flour and mix the bread dough. Add more white flour as needed to make the dough smooth and soft. It should pull away from the sides and form a ball in the center of the bowl. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap, or a damp towel. Put the dough in a warm place to rise. It should double in size, which may take 1-2 hours, depending on your yeast and the temperature in your kitchen.
Once the dough is double in size, punch it down and divide the dough in half. Form each ball of dough into a loaf and put them into greased bread pans. Brush the 1/4 cup honey on top of the dough, and top with the 1/4 cup of oats. Lightly press the oats into the honey to make them stick.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the loaf pans near the oven, where it is warm but not hot enough to pre-bake the bread. Allow the dough to rise a second time. Once it is just about to the top of the bread pan, or slightly above, you will bake it.
Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown on the top. Turn the bread onto cooking racks and allow the loaves to cool completely before cutting or storing.

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