Bread the Simple Way

Most folks would consider bread the simple way as running off to the supermarket and picking up a loaf. The supermarkets have great variety of offerings, many even bake on site. No, a little more basic, no bread machine was used…simple yes, but not basic enough. A Kitchen Aid countertop mixer is another tool to make the job easier but not basic enough. Side note – years ago my mother worked for a company that sold Kitchen Aid and got a great deal on mixers for my sisters…not for me or my brother. My feelings have been bruised ever since that snub!

Ok, so how simple? As basic as it gets. I found a recipe for an oatmeal stout bread….beer is liquid bread is it not! If you know me you know that I love to experiment a little! The recipe is in issue 27 of “Beer” magazine starting on page 60. Recipe from Joanna Buono and photographed by Derek Buono, possibly related! I changed a few things to be simple and basic.


  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup vital gluten – sorry that this may not be good for those with sensitivity to gluten
  • 1 bottle of Oatmeal Stout Beer – they used very nice oatmeal stout, The Velvet Merlin( it is very good), from Firestone Walker in Paso Robles CA  – I went simple, I had an Imperial Stout that I brewed a couple of months ago that I substituted. Still needs a few for months of maturity.
  • 1 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp kosher salt – I used sea salt
  • 2 tbsp of light molasses – my pantry had regular molasses – I figured close enough
  • 1 egg white and 2 tbsp of old-fashioned oatmeal used just before baking – I did not deviate here

The how to;

  1. Mix the flours and gluten together and make deep depression in the center. Pour in the beer slowly, then the molasses. Sprinkle the yeast on top, sit back and enjoy a few good sips of beer.  I was enjoying a homebrewed Helles from a neighbor
  2. Joanna suggests using your dough hook in this step, thanks to my mother I went basic and hand mixed the dough. After a while the dough is moistened and then mix in the salt. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20 minute. Plenty of time to finish the beer.
  3. If using the mixer, knead the dough for 7 minutes, if you are basic Bishop, knead by hand for 15 minutes. I will admit that there is some satisfaction from kneading by hand and since it was winter here in Houston I did not break out in a sweat….that could have made the bread too salty.
  4. Turn the dough into a deep well oiled bowl, turn to oil the entire ball, cover and let rise till double – about two hours
  5.  Turn out onto a floured board and shape into a rectangle about a 1/2 inch thick. fold in thirds like you would a letter.
  6. Roll tightly starting from one of the short side ends, tuck in the excess and place into a well oiled bread pan. Let rise covered for about 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes)
  7. Brush on the egg white and use the stickiness to get the oatmeal to adhere to the surface. Bake in an oven that has been pre-heated to 375 F. Bake for 40 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
The dough ball before rising. Note the home made Blackberry jam just waiting for some toast! Berries from my garden!

The dough ball before rising. Note the home-made Blackberry jam just waiting for some toast! Berries from my garden!

Just out of the oven before cooling off.

Just out of the oven before cooling off. Note: butter was already out in anticipation.

I was hoping to have a picture of the loaf as I cut the first slice off, you know, one of those that you see in the food magazines but somebody couldn’t wait and attacked the bread….it did smell awfully good!

This was simply a lot of effort but it was very satisfying and when toasted, a little real butter slathered on top and a teaspoon of my Blackberry jam – oooooh! doesn’t get much better than that.

Enjoy the simple stuff



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