It's Thursday, aka pre-Friday, and it's high time for the freakin' weekend. The high on Sunday in NYC is supposed to be 13 degrees Fahrenheit so this seems like a good time to plan on staying in, wearing a bathrobe, and making lots of good food. And there's no better addition to a homemade meal than a good loaf of bread (other than wine, duh).
This recipe is loosely based on the first bread that my class learned to bake in culinary school. We spent weeks making baguettes, fougasse, brioche, pizza (everybody's favorite day of the entire program), and focaccia, but for some reason this simple loaf stuck in my mind as something hearty and delicious that I want pretty much constantly. I love it cut thick, toasted, and slathered with butter.
Note: After watching a lot of the Great British Bake-Off I think my loaf sank a little in the middle because I over-proofed it (aka let it rise too long). For this reason, I slightly decreased the proofing times in the recipe so hopefully yours will be perfectly rounded!
- Oat bran
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup room temperature water
In a small mixing bowl, combine oat bran and boiling water. Stir and let cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, flour, sugar, salt and butter. Mix together and rub butter into the flour mixture until only pea-sized chunks remain.
Using the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer, add oat bran mixture and room temperature water to the flour mixture. Mix for 5 minutes on medium speed.
Lightly coat a mixing bowl with olive oil and transfer the dough to the oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, dry kitchen towel and place in a warm place to allow the dough to rise until doubled, 20-30 minutes.
Transfer dough to loaf pan, cover and allow to double again, another 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake until cooked through and evenly browned, 45-55 minutes.