There’s something so wholesome about baking bread. Maybe it is the satisfaction of seeing simple ingredients come together in a symphony of taste and texture, or maybe it’s the scent of freshly baked memories.
During the times of the Temple, priests would wash their hands ritually before eating to ensure purity. Others later adopted the practice. Today we wash our hands before making the blessing Hamotzi over the bread: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.” I listen to these melodic words sung by my children and stand in awe and gratitude.
I found this recipe for Oat and Wheat Sandwich Bread on smittenkitchen, which adapted it from Peter Reinhart’s “Artisan Breads Every Day.” I like to bake it for my family for weekday enjoyment. It is healthy, whole wheat and the perfect stage for my children to create a masterpiece of toppings.
A few notes: Try quick-cooking oats for a different texture. Substitute raw sugar, honey or agave nectar for the brown sugar. I used dairy-free unsweetened coconut milk by So Delicious, but any milk will do.
Oat and Wheat Sandwich Bread
Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s “Artisan Breads Every Day”
Makes 2 loaves
- 1¼ cups lukewarm water
- 1¼ cups lukewarm coconut milk
- 3 Tbs. brown sugar
- 1½ Tbs. instant yeast
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup vegetable or olive oil, plus a little more to coat bowl
- 5 cups whole-wheat flour
- 2 cups rolled old-fashioned oats
- 1 Tbs. kosher or coarse salt
To make the dough:
In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, combine water, milk and brown sugar. Stir in yeast. Add egg and oil and whisk until combined. Add flour, oats and salt. If mixing with a machine, combine ingredients using the paddle attachment at the lowest speed for 1 minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for 1 minute. The dough will be wet and coarse. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
Switch to the machine’s dough hook and mix on medium-low for 2 more minutes. If mixing by hand, do the same with your spoon. The dough should feel smooth and a little sticky. If it’s still very wet, add a bit more flour, a spoonful at a time. If it seems excessively stiff, add a little more water, a spoonful at a time. Continue to mix with dough hook or by hand for 4 minutes.
Scrape dough out onto lightly floured counter. Knead a few times, then form the dough into a ball. Oil your empty mixing bowl and return dough to it. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof at room temperature for 60 to 70 minutes, or until doubled in bulk, or transfer to the fridge and let it ferment overnight or up to 5 days. If proofing in the fridge, take the dough out about 3 hours before you plan to bake it.
To form the loaves:
Lightly coat two standard loaf pans with oil, butter or a nonstick spray. Turn dough onto a floured counter and divide it into two equal pieces. Press each gently into a rough rectangular shape. Fold in sides so that the first dough is roughly the width of your prepared bread loaf pan (about 9 inches). Roll from bottom to top. Put log into your bread loaf pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough. Let proof at room temperature for about an hour, or until the dough has crowned 1 inch above the rim of the baking pan. Halfway through process, heat oven to 350 degrees.
To bake the bread:
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pans once for even color. A cooked loaf of bread will sound a bit hollow when tapped and the internal temperature should read 190 degrees. Remove loaves from tins and let cool on a rack. If you’re planning to freeze the bread, double wrap in plastic wrap and then twice in foil and slide it into a large freezer zip-top bag.