RECIPE: Harvest oatmeal bread will bring joy to all this fall

Research has shown that the smell of baking bread evokes feelings of kindness and can be uplifting. Photo: Oatmeal Bread

PROVO, Utah, November 16, 2013—Research has shown that the smell of baking bread evokes feelings of kindness and can be uplifting. In the fall of 2012, the Journal of Social Psychology published a study showing that people were more likely to help a stranger in need when exposed to the smell of baking bread.

As old man winter bears down upon us, and the wind howls at our door what could be better than serving a still-warm loaf to family and friends? Imagine yourself slamming the door shut on the driving snow and ice and being immediately enveloped by a cloud of sweet bread-baking, mood-lifting aromas. This recipe for oatmeal bread is hearty, has the typical dense texture of homemade bread, and tastes divine dunked in chicken soup, as a ham sandwich, or even as basic bread and jam. Bread-baking smell is guaranteed to fill your house and bring smiles to all.

Harvest Oatmeal Bread


½ cup warm water

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons yeast

2 ¼ cups warm buttermilk

½ cup honey

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon salt

¾ cup oat bran

2 cups uncooked oatmeal

5 ½ cups high gluten bread flour

extra oats for sprinkling on top

extra butter for brushing dough and on top of loaf



In a small bowl combine warm water, 1 teaspoon honey, and yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast, and let it proof until foamy. While the yeast proofs, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine buttermilk, honey, butter, salt, oat bran, and oatmeal. Beat in the mixer for 2 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture. Add flour ½ cup at a time until a shaggy dough forms. You do not necessarily have to use all of the flour, and it if is too sticky add more, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Switch to the dough hook once it becomes too hard for the beater to mix it. When enough flour is mixed in, the dough will be smooth but moist with no crumbly or dry spots. Knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes until it is elastic (if you poke it or pull it, it springs back). Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and let it rest 5 minutes.  Butter a large bowl and place the lump of dough inside. Lightly oil the top of the dough with some of the melted butter and cover bowl top with plastic wrap. Place the dough in a warm place to rise. If your spot is warm it can rise in as quickly as 1 hour, if it is cooler, it may take up to two. If it is a cool but sunny day, sometimes the warm inside of a car is a perfect place to put the dough to rise. When dough has risen enough it should be approximately doubled in size.  When you poke a finger in it, the hole remains.

Preheat oven to 375°F. If you plan on baking the bread on a pizza stone, place the pizza stone in the oven before it is heated and pre-heat it with the oven.  Divide the lump of dough in half, knead a few times and then roll and pat each lump into a round or rectangular loaf. The round loaves can be baked on a pizza stone. (Round loaves should be placed on a pizza peel that has oatmeal scattered on the bottom of it to facilitate sliding the loaf off.)  If you make them rectangular, place them in buttered bread loaf pans. Brush tops with butter, sprinkle with more oatmeal and then cover with saran wrap. Let dough rise for 30 minutes until almost doubled.  With a sharp knife slash 3 stripes in the top of each loaf about 1/3 inch deep and 2 inches apart.

Bake bread for 40-45 minutes or until loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove the bread to cool. Do not slice while hot or the bread will mush up in the middle. Once the bread is cooled, slice and serve.

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Amelia Ames

Amelia Ames is a food writer and reviewer for Communities @Washington Times.  Her column Kitchen Journeys seeks to find the best in food, and those that prepare it for us.  Read more of her recipes, reviews and news at Gastronomy Girl. She received a B.S. in Zoology-Entomology from Brigham Young University.

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