Friday, March 27, 2009
Oatmeal Cranberry Bread
Oatmeal Cranberry Bread on the left; Cool rise sourdough bread, on the right
I've somehow managed to earn the privilege of preparing breakfast for the staff on our school professional days. I really enjoy coming up with a menu, and trying to be creative with the budget. This morning, we had a large fruit salad with pineapple (organic - 2 for $5 at WF!), cataloupe, grapes, and mangoes; oatmeal cranberry bread that rose like no bread I've ever baked; blueberry coffee cake; and chocolate chip muffins with streusal. On the way to school, I thought, "I should have baked eggs! Why didn't I get yogurt and granola?! I bet I could have done some homemade sausages for only a few more dollars..." Despite my concerns, the breakfast was well received! I know it wasn't the healthiest, but it was yummy, affordable, and made with solid ingredients--and certainly better than the Dunkin' Donuts we started the year with. I still need to figure out how to make eggs and keep them hot, but maybe that'll be my task for next year...
Aside from the fruit (always a clear winner), the oatmeal bread was my favorite. I adapted the King Arthur recipe for oatmeal raisin bread and came up with a keeper. And yes, I tried a piece. Today was not a GFCF day due to my lack of discipline and longing for a little butter with my bread, and I do feel it. Even though no tests have really said anything about gluten, I'm either experiencing psychosomatic symptoms, or there is something my body just doesn't like about flour. It's so sad, but clearly confirmed each time I taste even a little. Still, I can't seem to stay away. Here's my version of their recipe:
3 c bread flour (I had a 5 lb bag from someone at work - will try freshly ground WW next time, though it will clearly affect the rise!)
1 c rolled oats
1 1/4 c water
3 T honey
2 t SAF yeast
1 1/2 t salt
2 T coconut oil (no need to melt - can also use butter)
1/2 c cranberries, soaked for 10 minutes in boiling water
1/3 c toasted pecans or sunflower seeds would be nice too, though I didn't use them!
I used my bread machine for the kneading and rising, by selecting "dough cycle." I added water, honey, and coconut oil, followed by flour, oats, salt, and yeast. After the second kneading cycle (my machine beeps at this point), add the cranberries. Once the rise is complete, punch dough down, and transfer to baking pan. I like my stoneware Pampered Chef loaf pan. I decided to experiment, since our house is always freezing, and put the loaf pan in the bread machine while it went through a second rise. This worked beautifully! Once the bread rose 1+" over the top of the pan, about 30 minutes, I stuck it in a preheated oven, set to 375 F. It took about 35 minutes to bake. I stuck a thermometer in it to make sure the internal temperature registered at 190 to test for doneness. This bread was soft, delicious, and made fantastic toast. If I had any left, I'd certainly make some French toast with it, but perhaps there's a reason it's gone...