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This chewy-yet-soft sandwich loaf makes absolutely delightful toast. And it's perfect for sandwiches; in memory of Elvis, peanut butter and banana is a great choice.
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) water
2/3 cup (3 3/4 ounces) Irish oats (steel-cut oats)
1/4 cup (1 7/8 ounces) brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, to taste
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (1 7/8 ounces) King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour*
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
*Substitute bread flour, if desired.
The night before you plan on making the bread, stir together the water and Irish (steel-cut) oats, and refrigerate.
Next day, simmer the oats in the water until they're tender but "toothsome," and all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Add the brown sugar, butter, salt, and cinnamon, stirring until the butter melts. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and add the oats, whole wheat flour, and dry milk, stirring to combine. By this time, the mixture should have cooled considerably. Allow it to rest at room temperature, covered, for 1 hour. This will allow time for the oats to absorb the liquid and soften.
Stir in the yeast, then the bread flour. Knead the mixtureby hand, electric mixer, or bread machineuntil the dough feels springy. It will remain fairly sticky, but it will definitely develop some body. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rise, covered, for 1 hour.
Gently deflate the dough; you may notice that it shreds easily. This is from the oats, but don't worry; it's OK. Shape the dough into an 8" log, and place it in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. It will fill the pan fuller than you may be used to; that's OK, this bread doesn't have a lot of oven-spring. Cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for 60 minutes, till it's crowned about 1" over the rim of the pan.
Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Brush the top with melted butter, if desired; or simply run a stick of butter over the top of the hot loaf. Cool completely before slicing. Yield: 1 loaf.
Note: If you've already got some prepared Irish oatmeal on hand, substitute 1 1/4 cups cooked oatmeal for the 1 3/4 cups water and 2/3 cup Irish oats.