Thursday, November 2, 2017

Honey Oat Quick Bread

Several weeks ago, I promised you this quick bread recipe, and now seems like the perfect time to share it. The hubbub of Halloween is over, and the thralls of Thanksgiving have yet to begin. My mind is turning from sugary treats to wholesome, tasty food that takes little effort. And speaking in terms of effort, I view this recipe as the cozy pajamas of the bread world: it’s very easy and very forgiving.

The texture of those embedded oats is one of my favorite parts.

This bread is fluffy, delicious whole grain perfection. Its texture is so delightfully chewy, and it’s mildly sweet in flavor but plain enough to pair with all kinds of soups or spreads or sandwich fillings. If you bake it in a larger, square pan, it significantly reduces the bake time, and it stays super soft and moist all the way through. If you bake it in a loaf pan, it takes longer, but the crust has time to get deeply golden and pleasantly crisp. Win, win.

Baked in a square pan

The honey part is a bit of a misnomer when I make it because I opt for granulated sugar instead of honey. I don’t always enjoy baking with honey, partly because it browns quickly, due to its high fructose content. If you use honey in this, it will taste delicious, but I would recommend checking on it partway through baking to make sure it isn’t browning too quickly. If it is, cover with foil for the remainder of the bake time.

Honey Oat Quick Bread

adapted from…somewhere*

1 cup + 3 tablespoons old-fashioned (not quick) rolled oats, divided
2 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour**
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt (or 2/3 cup milk + 1/3 cup sour cream)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey or sugar
3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or oil a 9x5-inch loaf pan or an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. Put 2 Tablespoons of oats in the pan, and gently tilt and shake the pan to coat the sides and bottom with the oats.

In a large bowl, mix together the cup of oats, wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt, egg, oil, honey or sugar, and milk. Make a little well in the dry ingredients, and pour the wet ingredients in. Mix until just combined and there are no pockets of flour. Pour the batter into the prepared dish, and sprinkle the top with the remaining tablespoon of oats.

If using the loaf pan, bake for about 50 minutes. If using a square baking dish, bake for about 30-35 minutes. Either way, the crust should be golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Also, if you’re using honey, I recommend checking the brown-ness about halfway through baking. If it is getting too dark, cover the bread loosely with foil.

If loaf-ified, remove the bread from the tin, and allow to cool on a baking rack. I serve the square variety straight from the pan. This bread is very moist, so if it takes longer than 24 hours to eat it, store the rest in the refrigerator to avoid spoilage.

*I first tasted this bread when a classmate shared it with me. She gave me the recipe but with no citation, and when I tried to Google it, I found at least half a dozen recipes that are nearly identical but all have exactly one cup less flour than this one…

**I’ve also made it with plain old (red) whole wheat flour, and it’s still great.

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