There I was, getting ready to bake another bread recipe from Martha Day's Complete Baking. I thumbed through the recipes and decided to make the Oatmeal bread. It wasn't very exciting to me, but it sounded hearty. Oatmeal is a great addition to bread with it's nutty chewiness. Then, as I was getting the yeast and butter out of the fridge, I saw the remnants of the brown sugar/cinnamon/butter concoction I had made for my Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. Mmm, I thought, how could I incorporate that in a bread? A light bulb went on in my head. My children's favorite instant oatmeal flavor is Maple and Brown Sugar. Could I possibly make a bread that tasted like the cereal? I'd never know unless I tried.
I took the basic structure of Martha Day's recipe for Oatmeal bread as my guide and then embellished it with a few extras, like eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, maple flavoring and a swirl of brown sugar. I made two loaves. One with the swirl and one without. The loaf sans swirl is very reminiscent of the store bought instant oatmeal without being overly sweet. The other loaf, the sweet loaf, is sweet and, well, pretty amazing. (I just used the word sweet three times within nine words....I guess I am pretty excited about this bread)
I apologize in advance for the weird flour and oatmeal measurements. I took those directly from Martha's British book, using my kitchen scale. I didn't even look to see how many cups I used. Which brings me to a question I had. How many changes do you feel have to be made to a recipe before you can call it your own? I changed or added seven things in this recipe. Is it still Martha Day's or is it now mine? What is your opinion on this recipe tweaking we all do?
Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal Bread
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp pure maple syrup (original recipe called for 2 ounces brown sugar)
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp maple flavoring or extract (my addition)
1 tsp vanilla (my addition)
2 eggs, beaten (my addition)
1/4 cup warm water
1 Tbsp instant yeast
13 ounces old fashioned rolled oats
1 pound 8 ounces flour
3/4 cup brown sugar (my addition)
2 tsp cinnamon (my addition)
1/4 cup melted butter (my addition)
Place the milk, butter, maple syrup and salt in a microwave safe bowl and microwave 1 minute at a time until the butter is melted. Let cool slightly and add flavorings. Combine the yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water in a separate, smaller bowl. Pour the milk mixture into a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and then the yeast mixture. Add the flour and oatmeal and mix with a dough hook, adding additional flour if necessary to form a soft dough. Cover and let rise 1 hour. Turn the dough out on to a floured counter and roll into a large rectangle. Remember that you are going to be making two loaves, so the rectangle should be roughly the length of two bread pans. Spread the dough with the butter and then sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up, like cinnamon rolls and then cut in half, forming two loaves. Place in greased pans, cover and let rise another 45 minutes. Bake 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when knocked on. Let cool on a wire rack. Slice after cooling, if you can wait that long.