A Book, A Bike Ride, and Four Loaves of Bread
It is the beginning of the busy season at my place of employment and today is/was my only day off this week, sandwiched between a series of busy and stressful days. But as usual--being the doer that I am--I had a series of things that I planned on accomplishing today. My man-cave is in desperate need of cleaning, I need groceries, laundry needs to be done, and I had an appointment to keep. To make a long story short, I didn't do any of those things...I needed a break--a sort of personal retreat day--so instead I did what I wanted to do; things that would nourish me. I canceled my appointment and hopped on a bike. I took the bike on the subway to shorten the trip a suburban bookstore (the bike is pictured above on the subway platform). The suburban bike ride was not my most pleasant ride but I still enjoyed it. But before I left I started two batches of bread; sourdough and oatmeal (actually the sourdough was started last night). I also stopped for lunch and coffee and read a little of my new book. Later, after the breads were baked I took my dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. I had a sandwich for dinner (pictured below: caramelized vegetable frittata with kimchi on still-warm sourdough) and am currently sipping a glass of wine. While I still did a lot and seemed to accomplish a lot, they were things that I wanted to do--what I find enjoyable--and I have to remember that sometimes that is the most important thing. The chores, work, and appointments will still be there tomorrow, but sometimes I really have to remember to take care of myself first. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a movie to watch.
Whole Wheat Honey-Oatmeal Bread
Makes 2 loaves
6 cups whole wheat flour, divided
2 1/4 cups water, divided
1 cup oatmeal, plus additional for coating
1 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
3 teaspoons instant yeast, divided
Separate the ingredients in two bowls using this ratio: In one bowl combine 4 cups of flour, 1 1/4 cups water, along with all of the yogurt and salt. Stir it just until combined; cover with plastic wrap and set aside. In a second bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups flour and 1 cup water with 1 cup oatmeal, the olive oil, honey, and 2 teaspoons of yeast. Stir it just until combined; cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Allow the bowls to rest for at least an hour, but up to 12.
Add the remaining teaspoon yeast and the contents of both bowls to an upright electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for one hour.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, cut it into two pieces, gently shape it into loaves. Dust the counter with extra oatmeal and roll the loaves in it, gently pressing oatmeal into the surface of the raw dough. Place the loaves into oiled loaf pans, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat an oven to 400F.
Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on. Remove the bread from their pans and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.