Sunday, November 15, 2009

Whole Wheat Honey Oat Loaf

I don't know what possessed me to think I wanted to make bread from scratch without a breadmaker. I must have been hallucinating or something. What a lot of work!

I've been avoiding this recipe for a week or so now, primarily because of how much work and time I was convinced it would take. Let's just say I wasn't completely without reason when I finally got around to the recipe today. It's rather labour intensive, especially if it's your first time.

The first problem I encountered was the milk/yeast combination. Good thing those yeasties come in packs of 3. I now have but 1 left. I went and bought the homo milk as specified, but must not have had it sufficiently warm the first time I tried to make it "frothy". I waited the prescribed 10 minutes....nothing. I waited another 35 minutes....nothing, even after putting the bowl on the heat register while the furnace was on. Argh. Start over.

In the meantime, my oat/water/honey/butter combination was soaking nicely. I only drained a tiny bit of extra water out of it, otherwise no problems unless you count trying to get the honey out of the measuring spoon. That got a bit messy.

Second time around with the yeast and we're finally frothing. Add everything else and stir. Good grief, this dough is incredibly sticky! Baker beware, it will stick to freakin' everything, even if you coat your house and self in flour like I nearly did. When you manage to get it out of the bowl onto your floured surface, keep your bag of flour handy. You'll need it, trust me. I don't even know how much I had to use to keep that dough off the counter and my hands. Eventually, I kneaded it enough that it mostly behaved, and I managed to wrestle it into my (second) greased bowl. I used a glass bowl for this section where the evil dough is to rise in a warm place, and I put the covered bowl on the back burner of the stove with the oven on low for 1.5 hours.

90 minutes later, my dough looks monstrous, like a sea monkey left in water too long. I read the next step. Oh good! I get to punch the dough that made such a mess for me earlier. Darn, this crap is still so sticky. Now it's everywhere again, argh! I probably manhandled it a little more than I should have, but then again, I've never wrestled octopuses before and this felt quite similar.

Divide and conquer time. More like rip in half and attempt to reshape into lopsided, not-to-scale rectangles. Where's the damn flour? I think I have dough stuck to my entire upper body. Roll into bizarre-looking cylinders, seams naturally won't stick together, quickly flip seam-side down into pans and close my eyes. Now the plastic wrap won't stick to my new loaf pans and they keep fighting over which one gets which half of the warm burner where they've been sent to rise again.

Time's up, into the oven with you after your dressing with egg and oats. That's got to be good for the skin. I should try it sometime. I accidently smashed one loaf pan into the oven rack which probably explains why one loaf is smaller than the other. The dough sank like a rock in water after impact when my hand slipped. Oopsie.

Out of the oven now. How am I going to know if the bottom sounds hollow when they're in metal pans? Hmmm, dump them out onto the cooling racks and tap. Yep, hollow, but I doubt there's any candy in there if I whack them with a stick while blindfolded.

I tried a piece of the deformed, smaller loaf and it's good. It smells faintly of beer, probably the yeast since I made non-alcoholic bread products. Tasty, hard crust, slightly sweet. Still not sure if it was worth all the work, but at least I won't have to buy bread at the store this week...

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