I promised myself I'd eat just two slices, but there is something irresistible about this bread. It's soft and chewy and has just the right amount of sweetness. Four slices and lots of butter later, I found myself staring at a cutting board piled with crumbs and a much smaller loaf of bread than it had started with. In short, this bread is wonderfully addictive. Try it!

Last week, I blogged about my homemade sandwich bread. A friend suggested I try an Irish Oatmeal Bread from Cooking Light. I tried it today - with a few changes (maple syrup instead of sugar, regular oats instead of steel cut) - and it was a big hit. Thanks, Ley! This is a really soft, mild bread that's wonderful fresh as well as leftover. Don't eat this bread too warm, though, or it'll fall apart. Here's my modified recipe for you to try.

Maple Oatmeal Bread
This is quick work if you have a stand mixer. Serve this bread with eggs, sliced cheese, or simply with some butter, honey, or jam.

2 1/4  cups  boiling water
1 3/4  cups  raw oats
1  tablespoon  salt
3  tablespoons  butter, margarine, or canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
a drizzle of honey
1 tablespoon dry yeast (a little more than one packet)
1/2  cup wrist-water temperature water
3 1/2  cups  whole wheat flour, divided 
3  cups  all-purpose flour

Combine the boiling water, oats, salt, butter, and maple syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix well with a spoon. Let the mixture stand for about 25 minutes until it comes close to room temperature. (If it's too hot, it will kill the yeast.) Meanwhile, make a sponge. Mix the honey and yeast with the 1/2 cup wrist-water temperature water. Let it stand for about 5 minutes or until foamy and then stir in 1/2 cup whole wheat flour.

Let this rest for about 25 minutes, too, while the oatmeal mixture does the same. 

Combine the oat mixture and the sponge and begin mixing in a stand mixer. Gradually add the remaining whole wheat and white flour and knead for about 5 minutes until well combined and elastic. (You may need a bit of extra flour. The dough shouldn't stick to the sides of the bowl.)

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.  Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Use a rolling pin or the palms of your hands to flatten each half into a rough oval shape about 8 inches wide in the center. Then, just roll the oval up jelly-roll style (lengthwise) and place each one, seam sides down, in a 9-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Let the loaves rise for another hour or so.

About 15 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350* and bake for about 45 minutes, till the loaves are golden and sound kind of hollow when you tap them. Cool the loaves on wire racks (this is important; they will get soggy if you let them cool in the pans) for at least two hours before serving. Note that this bread freezes wonderfully. Just wrap the loaves well in foil after they have cooled thoroughly and freeze for up to a month.

See my post on Yeast Spotting.
I shared this post on Countdown to 2011!

Linking this up to Koab Recipe Exchange.