Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is Caleb’s favorite breakfast/lunch/snack, toasted or not & drizzled with honey.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread

1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey

Combine the milk & honey. Heat to very warm but not hot (too cold & the yeast beasties will not activate, too hot & you’ll kill them). Dissolve 1 Tbsp yeast in the warm, sweet milk & set aside to proof.

Meanwhile, whisk together in a mixing bowl:

2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned oats, not quick-cook or steel-cut)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten

When yeast has begun to bloom & foam, add liquid ingredients & 2 Tbsp soft unsalted butter to dry ingredients, & mix to combine. When it has formed a shaggy dough-batter, stir in 1 cup raisins. At this point, let the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer do its thing (or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface) for 5-7 minutes. If the dough is too wet, add more flour, 1/8 cup at a time & combining completely before you add more, so you don’t over-do & end up too dry. If you’re in the stand mixer, now it’s time to tip out onto a floured surface & knead by hand for a few minutes more until the dough feels properly springy & elastic. Smear the dough ball with soft unsalted butter to coat, put in mixing bowl & cover with a dish towel — let rise an hour or two someplace warm (or overnight somewhere cool) until doubled in size.

Tip out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface, punch down & knead a few minutes, then shape dough into desired form — round, oblong, loaf. Place dough on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with towel, & set on top of the stove to rise for about an hour or so while the oven pre-heats to 350. When the loaf has puffed up & nearly doubled in size, score lightly with a serrated knife, making slits just 1/4 inch deep — parallel lines on an oblong loaf, tic-tac-toe on a round one. Brush lightly with egg white, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (I used turbinado “sugar in the raw” because that’s what we use for coffee), & bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The bread is done when you lift it (again, use a towel, it’s hot) off the baking sheet & knock on the bottom & it sounds hollow.

Let cool on a baking rack. Serve sliced & slathered with butter or drizzled with honey. Makes the loveliest toast ever. Also delicious for sandwiches.

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