Don't be afraid of Homemade Bread! | Oatmeal Wheat Bread Recipe

I used to be not much of a baker.  Making homemade bread was intimidating.  I tried to make homemade breadsticks one time.  I went through this whole frugal phase when I was trying to do a lot of things homemade.  Breadsticks can be expensive to buy.  And my son loves breadsticks.  The first time I tried, I was, to say the least, discouraged.  I didn't know how to make the flour un-sticky when I was kneading it.  What a nightmare!!  It stuck to me, the counter, my clothes.  I probably looked a little disheveled by the time I was done.  I swore then and there that I was never making anything that required yeast and kneading again.  Fast forward 4 years and I love making bread.

I learned that the key to kneading bread is to add flour as you need it, so that it doesn't stick to you.   Some breads need a stickier dough, but for the most part, I usually add whatever I need to make my kneading life easier.  Here's a recipe I used this weekend for Oatmeal Bread.  It turned out so yummy that both loafs were gone within 2 hours of cooking it.  

Oatmeal Bread
2 cups water
3 Tbsp. butter (melted)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/3 c. all purpose or Bread flour (even better! I just didn't have any on hand)
4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

Add sugar and yeast to warm water.  Water needs to be warm, but not hot.  I usually heat it in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  If it's too hot, it will de-activate the yeast.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.  It will be really frothy when it's ready.

Sift or mix together the whole wheat flour, white flour, salt and oatmeal.

Make a "well" in the center of the flour and pour in melted butter and water/yeast mixture.  Mix together until combined.  Turn out onto a floured surface.  Knead for about 10 minutes.  Or until some people like to say, "It's as soft as a baby's butt".  Add flour as you knead if it becomes too sticky.

Put into an oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil.  Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm place to rise. Let rise until doubled.  About 1 1/2 hours.

After risen, punch down the dough and separate into 2 greased bread loaf pans.  Let rise again for about a half hour to an hour. 

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.  All ovens vary.  The top should be golden brown and when you thump it, it should sound hollow.  After you take it out of the oven, place on wire rack to cool.
Enjoy!  Next time, I'll make 4 loaves, because it disappears too quickly!

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