Here is a simple oatmeal raisin bread that tastes great for breakfast and as an after-school snack. The recipe is for 2 loaves: one for eating now and one to freeze for later. If you don't like raisins, you can replace them with just about any dried fruit. Dried cranberries, chopped dried apples, and chopped dried apricots work very well in this recipe.
- 2 1/4 tsp/1 pkg/1/4 oz. yeast (active dry)
- 1/4 cup water (warmed to 95 to 110 degrees F)
- 2 cups milk (room temperature)
- 2 Tbsp sugar (brown, packed)
- 1-1/2 Tbsp butter (soft)
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 cups oats (old fashioned)
- 3 1/2 cups flour (bread)
- 1 1/2 cups raisins
- In large bowl, add yeast and warm water. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Add milk, brown sugar, butter, and salt. Stir. Mix in oats and let sit for 5 minutes to let the oats soak up liquid. Mix in 2-1/2 cups flour. Slowly add remaining flour, a 1/4 cup at a time, until a thick dough has been formed.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured board. Knead in raisins for 10 minutes. Put dough into medium, greased bowl. Flip dough over inside bowl so that the dough top is also lightly greased. Cover bowl with clean dishtowel and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until dough is double in bulk.
- Punch down dough. Divide dough into two equal parts and shape into loaves. Place loaves in greased 1.5 qt. bread pan. Cover loaves with clean dishtowel and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until double in size. Bake loaves at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Let cool on rack.
Bread Baking Tips:
It is not hard to learn how to braid bread dough.
Store brown sugar into an airtight container to keep it from becoming hard.
When measuring out brown sugar, always pack it down into the measuring cup or spoon unless the recipe tells you to do otherwise.
Use bottled water instead of tap water to make your breads. Water softeners and chlorinated public water can sometimes kill the yeast needed to make your bread dough rise.
Brush loaves with butter immediately after baking to produce a soft crust.
Brush loaves with milk before baking to produce a dark, shiny crust.
Brush loaves with egg white before baking to produce a shiny crust.
Spraying loaves with water while they bake will produce a crispy crust.
There is a milk to dry milk powder conversion table. Use it to figure out how much dry milk to add to the water when replacing the milk in the recipe.
You can use any type of milk in this recipe: whole milk, skim, low fat, etc. Milk can also be replaced with water and nonfat dry milk.