Whole Wheat Maple-Oatmeal Bread (recipe, pics, and step-by-step instructions)

It's interesting, I think, in that I post on this blog everyday, sometimes more than once, and write about all sorts of things--mostly things related to bicycling, cooking, living simply, and things that inspire me--but still the most common reason people visit this blog is for Ezekiel Bread Recipes. Well, fellow whole grain bakers, I'm glad that's how you found your way here (through Googling "Ezekiel Bread Recipe," no doubt), but I hope you stick around for a while, maybe you'll find a few things interesting. So this one is for you, my whole wheat baker friends....maple-oatmeal bread (which is a variation of honey-oatmeal with yogurt). For an Ezekiel Bread Recipe, click here. To read about my views and interpretation of Ezekiel Bread, click here.

Anyhow, this is how to make maple oatmeal bread (a printable recipe is at the bottom of the post).

Place two bowls side-by-side. In one, start an autolyse with the bulk of the flour, oatmeal, and some water. In the other, start a preferment (biga) with the remainder of the flour, water, and a portion of the yeast. Allow these mixtures to rest and ferment for at least an hour but up to 12 hours.

Next you'll combine the two mixtures together, and add the maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and remaining yeast. Knead the dough until it passes the windowpane test.

Transfer the dough to a bowl or dough bucket, and allow it to rise, double in size, and ferment for about an hour. Push the dough down and allow it to rise again.

Cut the dough into two or three pieces, shape them into loaves, roll them in oats, and place them in loaf pans. Allow the bread to rise for about an hour, and bake them in a pre-heated oven. Simple and delicious. (a recipe is below).

Whole-Wheat Maple-Oatmeal Bread
Makes 2 or 3 loaves
6 cups whole wheat flour, divided
2 cups oatmeal, plus additional for coating
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
3 ½ cups water, divided
2 tablespoons instant yeast, divided
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Separate the ingredients into two bowls using this ratio: In one bowl combine 4 cups of flour, two cups of oatmeal, the wheat gluten, and 2 ½ cups of water; stir until just combined. In the second bowl combine the remaining 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of yeast, and 1 cup of water; stir until just combined. Cover the bowls and allow the ingredients to rest and begin fermenting for at least an hour, but up to 12. Then combine the contents of bowl bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining tablespoon of yeast, along with the olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes, then cover and allow to rise for one hour. Transfer the dough to a work surface, cut it into two or 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 425F. 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.