Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Knead Oat Bread (Guilt Inducingly Easy)

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

I know that fall means pumpkins and apples, caramel and hot chocolate. But what it also means--at least for me--is bread. Warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven, soft, but hearty bread. Of course, sometimes with the cooler temperatures, getting it to rise in a timely manner can be a challenge, but you've got nothing else to do except bread, so you can wait for it. Oh, wait, except you can't. You do have other things besides bread. Well, not to point the finger or anything, but clearly someone's priorities are just a wee bit skewed.

No matter. With this bread, you can have your life and eat your bread too.

You just mix it up in a bowl, let it rise for 30--yup, 30--minutes. And then you bake it for another 30. That's 65 minutes from start to finish fresh-out-of-the-oven, yeast bread. Seriously, it's so easy. Even if you've never successfully baked bread in your life, make this. It's tough to mess up (I always try, for scientific blogging purposes, of course). This is the yeast bread for the bread impaired. This is the yeast bread for the time robbed. This is a yeast bread for the baking defunct. Do I need to go on?

Oh, yeah, and it's healthy too.

No Knead Oat Bread
adapted, just a bit, from 101 Cookbooks
Makes 1 loaf
Prep time: 3 minutes
Rise time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Cost: $.45
(flour: .10, whole wheat flour: .18, oats: .09, yeast: .05-.35 depending on if it's bought bulk or not; honey: .03)

A note on oats: I used quick because that's all I had. This worked great for our family, since they hate things they refer to as "chunkies." The quick oats melded with the bread and no one knew of their healthful existence. However, if you and yourn like a little texture, you're going to need oats of the old-fashioned variety.

1 1/4 C warm water (it's going to be about 110 degrees if you want to be exact; just stick your finger in and it should feel warm)
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp honey
1 C all-purpose flour (I haven't done it yet, but I'm willing to bet that this could be subbed for white whole wheat to very good effect)
1 C whole wheat flour
1 C rolled oats
3/4 tsp salt

Put water, yeast, and honey in a small bowl and mix.

Put dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients. Stir them up. It'll be wetter than a normal yeast bread. Like this.

Butter or grease a small loaf pan (mine is 7x3.5 or something like that). Flop your floppy dough into it and sort of nudge it to the edges if necessary. Let it rise, covered with a dish towel or plastic wrap, in the pan for 30 minutes. (P.S. I've made this twice and the second time forgot to put it in the bread pan to rise and just let it rise in the bowl. All was well, although the loaf was a wee bit shorter when cooked.)

While it's rising, set oven to 350. Bake for 30-40 minutes until it's getting golden.  101 Cookbooks suggests putting it under the broiler "for just a heartbeat" to give the crust a deeper color, but I didn't do that. I do like to take my bread's temperature. It should be about 170 and will get a little hotter after you take it out. (But you don't have to take it's temperature--if it's golden and your oven is set at 350 with the bread on the middle rack, you will be fine, unless your oven is from, say, 1772 or really doesn't heat right).

Remove it from the oven. Let it cool for a minute or two and then turn it out to cool (if you wait too long, it will sort of steam and the outsides could get soggy in the pan, and we don't want that for all that hard work you did--oh wait, it wasn't hard work, but no one has to know that. Just don't let it steam, okay, because it's not the end of the world, but you'll be annoyed at yourself if you do.)

Eat warm or not.

Note: This bread keeps a couple days at room temperature, but it does have a very short shelf life, even in terms of homemade bread. We ate most of ours in the first 2 days, but there was a crust that got left. When I went to eat it on day 4 or 5, it smelled ferment-y (as opposed to most of my homemade breads, which just get stale). So, if your bread happens to make it past day 2, refrigerate or freeze it.


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