Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Herbed Oatmeal Bread

Herbed Oatmeal Bread
I love baking bread.
It's hilarious that, not too long ago, I was terrified of it.
Now I'm a lean(ish), mean(ha!), baking machine!

This herbed oatmeal bread is one of the best breads I've had the pleasure of making! 

And...now...this is going to sound strange but...it tastes sort of like Pizza Hut's breadsticks. But not like greasy. Just delicious. I don't like Pizza Hut's pizza (because it's disgusting, and this is one area where Michael agrees). I used to have to eat at Pizza Hut fairly often, because of some sort of school-related reading program (you read a certain amount and your reward was a personal pan pizza--did anyone else do this/remember this?), so I'm sure that has contributed to my aversion to Pizza Hut, and then there's also the fact that it is the opposite of everything I like in a pizza (I prefer thin crust, not a lot of sauce, and I think Pizza Hut's cheese is one of the grossest things in the world). But, I have always had a weird soft spot for their breadsticks. This bread is a beautiful, fluffy, delicious version of that taste--it's the herb butter, I'm sure, that accounts for the similarities in flavor. I'm not complaining.

This bread is great on the side of a delicious dinner (if you wanna be Italian about it, eat it with some pasta and use it to sop up the sauce), dip it in soup, or just eat it by itself (my preferred method)! The oatmeal in it gives it a nice hearty quality, in addition to the fluffiness, and you get the explosion of flavors from the cheese and herbs that have been baked on top. Magnifico! 


Herbed Oatmeal Bread


Herbed Oatmeal Bread
Ingredients:
Bread
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 3/4 to 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
Herb Butter
  • 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted
Preparation:
Herbed Oatmeal Bread
  • In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil.
  • Stir in rolled oats.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 3 tbsp. butter. Cool until the mixture is comfortably warm (to make a good environment for the yeast-not hot, but not cold)-around 120-130 degrees if you're going to measure the temperature.
  • In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast.
  • Once cooled to warm, add oat mixture and the egg to the large bowl-blend with a mixer on low speed until moist, then on medium speed for an additional 3 minutes.
  • By hand, stir in 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 cups remaining flour until you have a stiff dough.
  • Knead until smooth and elastic (using flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands)-about 5 minutes.
  • Cover and allow to rest 15 minutes.
  • Grease a 9 x 13 in. pan.
  • Punch down dough, repeatedly, to remove air bubbles.
  • Press dough into the greased pan.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut diagonal lines 1 1/2 in. apart, cutting completely through the dough. Repeat in the opposite direction to form a diamond pattern.
  • Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Once risen, re-define cuts by poking the tip of a knife into them (but do NOT pull the knife through the dough, only poke).
  • Spoon 4 tbsp. melted butter over the dough.
  • Bake 15 minutes.
  • While baking, mix cheese and seasonings in a small bowl.
  • Remove bread from oven, brush with remaining 2 tbsp. butter. Sprinkle with the cheese/herb mixture.
  • Bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Serve warm or cooled.
Herbed Oatmeal Bread
IT'S SO FLUFFY I'M GONNA DIE

(OMG-can we talk about how much I adore Agnes from "Despicable Me"? She is my future child. It's been decided. I'm totally not giving her an awful name like Agnes, though. Other than that, totally my kid :P)

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