I love having an excuse to make oatmeal. I prefer steel-cut oats, which I find have a nuttier, fuller flavor. Leftover oatmeal can be refrigerated for up to a week, but I like to use it in this amazing bread.
It needs to cool for at least an hour before you slice it. If you’ll want to eat some right away, save out a bit of the dough for rolls, or make one loaf plus a bunch of rolls.
Leftover Oatmeal Bread
Makes 2 large loaves
- 3 cups leftover cooked oatmeal
- 2 cups warm water
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4+ cups flour
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oatmeal, water, honey, and yeast; stir just enough to break up the oatmeal. Let it sit on the counter for 15 min or so, to let the yeast begin to work.
Add the salt and 2 cups flour, and mix very well. Don’t be afraid to beat it hard: you’re developing gluten that will help the bread rise. Add more flour a cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, until the dough just comes together. It may take 2 more cups, or it may take a lot more, it depends on the weather and humidity and all sorts of things. This is a bread where you just go by the feel of the dough.
KNEAD BY HAND, THEN LET REST
When the dough will just hold together in a shaggy mass, turn it out onto a well-floured counter. Knead, adding more flour as needed, for 2-3 minutes. Cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. This not only lets you rinse out the dough bowl, but it allows the starches and gluten in the dough to expand and fully absorb the liquid, which makes dough less sticky and easier to handle.
After the dough rests, knead it another 3-5 minutes, adding more flour as needed. It takes a bit of experience to know when you’ve kneaded enough. It will no longer be sucking up flour, the surface will be smooth and a bit less sticky, and it will feel alive under your hands. You can also use the windowpane test.
FIRST RISE IN THE BOWL, 2nd IN PAN
Put your dough in an oiled clean bowl, turn it so that all surfaces are oiled, then cover with a tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
After the rise, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently punch it down. Shape dough into 2 loaves, and let the loaves rise until doubled in bulk.
BAKE 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Slash the loaves as you prefer, and bake 30 minutes. Check for doneness: it will look done, it will sound hollow when turned out of the pan and thumped on the bottom, and the internal temperature is about 190˚. See the Kitchn for a good explanation.
Let cool for at least an hour before slicing – the bread needs to firm up. This is seriously wonderful bread!
Note: of course you can shape the dough into rolls, also. I like to make half the dough into 12 spheres of dough about the size of ping-pong balls, and let them rise on a parchment-paper covered baking sheet. They’ll be cooked in about two-thirds of the time.