Monday, February 7, 2011

My Latest Addiction: OATMEAL BROWN ALE BREAD and ROLLS

It's true.  I am completely and utterly ADDICTED to this bread.  Not only is the flavor out of this world...nutty, wheaty, complex. They're soft and springy...yet toothsome. It is also the perfect...no, let me put that another way PERFECT! texture.  Perfect.  I first tried it in roll form.  This is how I originally saw them over at Flour Dusted.  When briarrose  tempted me with her wily ways, I didn't know what I was in for.  I would kiss the ground that she walked on, if only I knew where that ground lay.  First off, I adore Newcastle...and she incorporated that into her recipe.  Second, I love bread.  So...pretty much...it doesn't get any better than this for me.  Fact is, the whole family loved them.  I called my mom the minute they came out of the oven and informed her of the upcoming addition to all future holiday tables.  Or non-holiday tables.  I don't care.  I'll put them in a pretty basket and set them on the coffee table.  Seriously.  I've made them three times already.  Okay, not three times in roll form.  The first time I tried them in roll form.  The second time I divided the dough into two and made free-form loaves.  The third time I divided it in two and made loaves in loaf pans.  You just cannot go wrong with this bread.  I love the little rolls because you get a bite of the crisp, gorgeous crust in every mouthful.  But. I love the loaves because they slice up without crumbling or breaking and are fantastic sandwich bread or toasting bread.  With nut butter slathered on top...don't get me started.  Whoda thunk it?  That this dough would wrap its heady arms around me and make me a monogamous woman.  Okay, I suppose that's going a bit far.  I'm still a breadie...and my eyes and hands and mouth will wander.  But this, my friends, this is my go-to dough from here on out.
Oatmeal Brown Ale Rolls (or bread)
adapted very slightly from flour dusted
makes 12-16 rolls or 2 loaves

¼ c. warm water
12 fl.oz. Brown Ale (such as Newcastle)
¼ c. pure maple syrup, room temp.
1 egg, room temp., lightly beaten
2 Tbs. oil
½ tsp. fine sea salt
450 g. (~3 c.+ 1 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour + more as needed
180 g. (2 c.) rolled oats, measured and then ground fine
30 g. (3 Tbs.) vital wheat gluten
27 g. (¼ c.) wheat germ
7 g. (~2¼ tsp. / ¼ oz. / 1 packet) active dry yeast
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1 egg white, beaten (optional for egg wash)

hand or stand mixer method: Dissolve yeast in warm water (~110° F). Add ale. Using a wooden spoon (or in mixer bowl using dough hook attachment), stir in the oil, maple syrup, and egg. Add the ground oats, wheat germ, vital wheat gluten and salt. Gradually mix in flour to form a soft dough. If dough seems too sticky, add in more flour, ~1 Tbs. at a time.  Once dough is too difficult to stir (if making by hand), turn it out onto a floured work surface.  Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for ~1 hour or until doubled in size.  Punch dough down.

bread machine method:  Place everything in cylinder of bread machine in the order listed and press dough cycle.

Turn out onto a floured work surface. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, divide dough into 12 equal portions (or 16 for smaller rolls).  Stretch surface of dough to bottom on all four sides, rotating a quarter turn as you go to form a ball, flouring your hands as necessary. Place each ball on a tray (or two) lined with a silpat or parchment, or that has been lightly greased.  To make loaves, either divide dough into two portions and place in greased loaf pans or make free-form rounds and place on sheet trays as you would the rolls.

Cover and let rise in a warm place about an hour, or until doubled in size.  Preheat oven to 375° F during last 15 minutes of rising time.

For a glossy crust, brush tops with the beaten egg white.  Slash them if you wish.

Bake rolls for ~25-30 minutes and loaves for ~35-40 minutes, or until they are deeply golden and cooked through (I temped mine at ~205° F in the center).
Don't hate me because my bread is beautiful.  But seriously, it makes me smile just looking at it.  I have about a quarter of a loaf of bread left...which means I'll be baking another couple loaves tomorrow.  Nobody will believe me when I tell them I'm buying an extra six-pack just for bread baking.  Oh sure, they'll nod their heads and wink conspiratorially, but that's okay.  I'll know the truth.


When making one batch of the bread, I used a Leinie's 1888 Bock (a blending of dark and pale roasted malted barley and hops...aged longer to create a robust buck w/ a creamy head).  That worked nicely, as well!  So...an Oatmeal Bock Loaf, if you will.  But Newcastle does this recipe the most justice.


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