If you're a regular reader, you've probably caught on to the fact that I'm a huge bread/carb lover. Whenever I start to feel guilty about that, I pull out the whole wheat flour and try to make something bready but still on the healthy side, and it always makes me super happy when I'm able to pull off making an awesome bread without any white flour. Exhibit A: This Oats and Honey Whole Wheat Bread. It's light, soft, tender, and just slightly/perfectly sweet - the exact opposite of those dry, boring loaves that give whole wheat bread a bad rep. And yep; it's 100% whole wheat!
I think this is the first time I've tackled a yeast bread using only whole wheat flour, and I was definitely a bit skeptical as to how well it would work at first, because let's face it, yeast breads are a whole different animal from quick breads. That's probably why they seem so intimidating, but honestly, once you get the feel of how they work, yeast breads can actually be easier to work with than quick breads (which might sound weird and totally untrue, but I'm serious!)
I've mentioned that the Become a Better Baker website has some really helpful resources for learning to use yeast for all different sorts of recipes, and their Yeast 101 page is exactly the place to start if you have any questions, doubts, or intimidation about baking with yeast. They explain tons of the whats and whys of this recipe and yeast bread recipes in general, like "What the heck is proofing yeast?" and "HOW do I know when my bread is done baking?" My favorite question of all is, "How much flour should I add?", because it was such a revelation for me to realize when enough is enough flour-wise, and it's completely transformed my bread baking. READ IT! :)
As far as recipes go, this one is pretty straightforward - no fancy ingredients and no fancy techniques. It's a perfect recipe to test out if you're just getting comfortable with yeast, and being that it's whole-wheat, it's an awesome healthier bread to have around the house. It slices like a dream and works well pretty much every way: plain, with melted butter, in a sandwich, sweet, savory, whatever.
This is one of those recipes that stick around, even if you're like me and have a million and one recipes on your to-make list. I just hope it gets you loving whole wheat bread as much as I've learned to!
Oats and Honey Whole Wheat Bread
A light, soft, and tender bread loaf that's made with 100% whole wheat flour, sweetened with a touch of honey, and enhanced with a hearty helping of nutty oats.
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
- 10 ⅝ ounces (1 ¼ cups) milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons Fleischmann’s® Active Dry Yeast
- 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 ounces (¼ cup) honey, plus ½ teaspoon
- 12 ¾ ounces (3 cups) whole wheat flour, plus 2 ⅛ ounces (½ cup) as needed
- 1 ½ ounces (⅜ cup) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons milk, for brushing
- old-fashioned rolled oats, for sprinkling on top
- Scald milk by microwaving in a microwave-safe container until temperature reaches 180ºF. Let cool to 100ºF-110ºF (you can put the milk in the fridge if desired to speed up this process).
- Add ½ teaspoon honey to cooled milk and whisk in. Sprinkle yeast over milk and stir in with a wooden spoon to dissolve. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to proof the yeast (or until the mixture is foamy on top).
- While the yeast is proofing, melt the butter and let cool (if needed) to 100ºF-110ºF. In a large glass bowl, stir together the remaining 3 ounces (¼ cup) honey with the melted butter until smooth. Stir in the yeast mixture. Sprinkle the 12 ¾ ounces (3 cups) flour on top, followed by the oats and salt. Mix together with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes to allow the flour to begin soaking up some of the liquid.
- After 10 minutes, turn dough out onto counter and knead for 10-15 minutes, incorporating up to another 2 ⅛ ounces (½ cup) flour as needed, until the dough is fairly elastic and feels tacky, but not sticky enough to get stuck to the counter or your hands. Be careful to not add more flour than necessary.
- Shape dough into a round with a smooth top and place in a greased bowl about twice its size, turning dough once to coat top with cooking spray. Cover with greased plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in size; this should take about 1 ½ - 2 hours, but time may vary; judge by size of dough.
- Spray an 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pan with cooking spray. Gently punch down risen dough and shape into a log with the same dimensions as the bread pan, using your palms to pull the outer edges under so that the top of the loaf is smooth. Place in pan and press down gently to fill space. Cover with greased plastic wrap and leave to rise until dough reaches about 1 ¼” above the edges of the pan at its highest point and fills up most of the space in the tin. This should take about 1 hour, but again, judge this by visual cues. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF with an oven rack set in the bottom third position.
- Just before baking, brush the top of the loaf with 1 ½ teaspoons milk and sprinkle with rolled oats. Bake for 38-42 minutes, until the internal temperature of the loaf measured from the base is over 190ºF, or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
- Let loaf cool on a wire rack before slicing. Store wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and/or in an airtight zip-top bag.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fleischmann's® Yeast and Become a Better Baker™. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are completely my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors who make Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker possible!