Lately I've been trying to establish a weekly rhythm to help us get everything done. One thing I noticed was that I would plan to bake a few things (including bread) as part of our weekly menus, for sandwiches and the like, but then when it wouldn't happen I would have to scramble for an alternate lunch plan. Well...no more! I think Monday is the perfect day for baking around here. I'm always in the kitchen anyway, since there are usually some dishes to catch up on after the weekend, and since I'm still feeling a wee bit lethargic after two days of quietER to do lists, baking seems to be just the thing. This week I tested a new bread recipe that I really love! I have one other I would like to test, but I'm about 95% sold on this one...I just want to check the other out because well...you never know! ;) So...found on all recipes, here is my current favorite...
In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, stir together 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 cup bread flour, and yeast. Let grow for about 5 minutes. It will bubble almost immediately.
Measure oats, 4 1/2 cups warm water, whole wheat flour, salt, 2/3 cup sugar, and 2/3 cup oil into the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with a dough hook for 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed slightly, and begin adding bread flour 1/2 to 1 cup at a time until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Humidity determines how much flour you need before the bread pulls away from the edge of the bowl. It is normal for the dough to be sticky.
Place dough in an greased bowl (*note* I had to use my two largest mixing bowls, and it really really filled them once it had risen! One bowl is certainly not large enough unless you have a Really Really mammoth fit-a-two-year-old-in-it bowl), and turn to coat the surface. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Divide dough into 6 pieces. Shape loaves, and place in greased 8 x 4 inch pans. Let rise until dough is 1 inch above rim of pans, usually 1 hour. (*note* clearly, I did this a bit differently, since I only have 2 loaf pans...I would really love to get some of these to expand my collection, but that's just currently not an option...so we have a variety to chose from!)
Bake at 350 degrees F ( 175 degrees C) for 30-35 minutes, or until tops are browned. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.