Saturday, May 20, 2006

Oatmeal Molasses Batter Bread

I've talked about batter breads before. Their main advantage is that they are incredibly simple, involving no kneading and still produce an excellent loaf.
It is so simple, in fact, that there is not much to say about it! This recipe makes one loaf with a soft, moist open crumb and a slightly crisp, thin crust. I mixed up the dough in my stand mixer, but you could certainly do it by hand, too. I find that giving it a mixing time of a few minutes is important to help the gluten develop and give the bread a better structure, something which normally happens during the kneading and rising process of other breads.
The loaf has the rich, tangy taste of the molasses, but it is tempered by the honey, so there is no bitterness in the bread. The oatmeal adds a bit of texture, but doesn't detract from the overall softness of the crumb. It's great for cutting into thick slices and eating with soup or slathering with butter. I like it best untoasted because of the lovely soft texture, but toast is always a good serving suggestion for breads.

Oatmeal Molasses Batter Bread
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110F)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled/quick cooking oats
3 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and, using the regular paddle attachment, beat at low speed until combined. Then, continue mixing for about 4 minutes.
Grease an 8x4-inch loaf pan and spread dough into it. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it reaches the top of the pan, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Bake for 35 minutes, until well browned and, hollow-sounding when tapped.
Turn out of pan and cool almost completely on a wire rack before slicing into thick slices with a serrated knife.
Makes one loaf.