Makes 1 loaf

I love recipes that lend themselves to variations, and this one certainly does. It’s based on my recipe for Orange-Thyme Oatmeal Batter Bread in Morning Glories, my book on breakfast food with herbs. This bread takes well to cinnamon, raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and all sorts of nuts. Use 1 to 1/2 cups of any add-ins; if you want to add cinnamon, try 2 teaspoons mixed in with the dry ingredients. You could also use dark brown sugar instead of light brown for a deeper flavor.

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 envelope very fresh active dry yeast

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or coarse salt

1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 1/4 cups very warm tap water (about 120 degrees), or 3/4 cup warm water and 1/2 cup warmed milk or orange juice

Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together yeast, flour, salt and brown sugar. Add butter, oats and water.  Beat on low speed to combine, then raise speed to high and beat for 2 minutes.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing top, and cover with a piece of greased plastic wrap (I stretch the wrap out from the box, spray with cooking-oil spray, and then tear it off). Set near (but not on) the oven or in another warm spot and let it rise for 20 minutes (I have two ovens, so I set the bread in the cold oven with a small pan of boiling water). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove plastic and bake the bread for 30 minutes, until the loaf is golden sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.

Related column: Snack Attack: Oatmeal Batter Bread

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