Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bill's Oatmeal Raisin Bread

I have never been very good at simple things. Oatmeal escapes me in the normal context. I disapprove of instant. There is nothing like taking the most inexpensive of foods and making it outrageously expensive so that someone does not have to cook it for twelve to fifteen minutes.
I do my best by taking the oatmeal and cooking it about 10 minutes instead of the recommended 8 with about 25% more water.(Of course this varies by brand, but I cannot get John to stop buying the cheapest Market Basket brand.) Then I add a half cup of milk and continue to cook it for another 2 to 4 minutes till the oatmeal is very soft. I add raisins and cinnamon along with the oats, and plenty of both. I finish up with a generous amount of brown sugar at the end.
Well now that we have that done...


Some of this is a little redundant, but the idea is to use up the leftovers of oatmeal.

1 1/2 cups cooked cooled oatmeal with the raisins, sugar and cinnamon added.
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup water
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons shortening or butter
1 Tablespoon salt
7+- cups unbleached flour
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 Tablespoon yeast

Put the raisins in the milk and scald(heat till bubbles form at the edge of the milk but not to the boil).

Add the shortening to the milk to melt.

Add the oatmeal, one tablespoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup brown sugar to the milk mixture and stir to blend.

Allow to cool to high body temperature.

Heat the cup of water to 100 degrees or so.(high body temp.)

Add the yeast and the white sugar and stir to dissolve.

Allow the yeast to prove about fifteen minutes.

Combine all the wet ingredients together.

Add flour at the rate of one cup at a time, blending well after the first two till quite smooth.

Add the salt and stir.

Add flour a cup at a time till a soft dough forms. Do not add any more dough than is absolutely necessary to handle it without your arm being pulled into it and disappearing completely.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead. Lift the dough off the board holding it by one end. Slap the other end of the dough down hard on the surface then fold the rest over the top. Pick it up and repeat at least a dozen times.(use a bench scraper or a spatula wo srape it up if it sticks.) The dough will dry and become smoother. Continue kneading for a total of ten minutes.

Form a ball and drop into a greased bowl and turn over to coat with the grease.

Allow to rise covered with a damp cloth till at least doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough in half after punching it down gently.

Roll or pat it into a long rectangle on a lightly floured surface.

Spread the rectangle with a generous layer of brown sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon. Leave one inch of the narrow side un-coated with the sugar.

Starting with the un-coated edge roll the rectangle up like a jelly roll, pinching the final edge together with the main roll to seal.

Place the roll into a greased loaf pan with the seam side down.

Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Cover both pans with with a cotton or linen towel and allow to rise in a warm spot till doubled in size.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until it is removed from the pan and sounds hollow when hit on the bottom with a knuckle.

Cool on a wire rack.

If a soft top crust is desired, brush with melted butter when warm.

This is great for toast, but is just as good with a slathering of butter or cream cheese. This could just as easily be topped with cream cheese frosting. Imagine it made into French Toast or Bread Pudding.

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