Easy Homemade Bread – Homemade Organic Honey Oat Bread

I’m no organic bread expert, but I’m adept enough that I used to make all our bread from scratch. Over the last year I’ve been too busy even for bread making, but I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of it, because all those little bread bags make me nuts.

Also, there’s a lot of bread ingredient shenanigans going on. I’ve been reading some of the bread packages at the store and there’s stuff like added colors, added flavors, high fructose corn syrup, Monoglycerides and diglycerides (which may not be vegetarian depending on the source), PLUS half the so called natural breads at the store only contain about 20-30% organic content – lame.

Benefits of homemade organic bread…

  • It’s not that tough and gives your arms a good workout.
  • Cuts down on packaging like all those annoying bread bags and bread tabs.
  • You’ll know what’s in your bread and can add healthy ingredient additions.
  • Saves you money – even if you make organic and factor in the time involved – so long as you buy supplies in bulk.
  • It’s fun. My son made his first very own batch of yeast rolls a couple weeks ago and he usually isn’t big on cooking, but he had fun shaping the dough and asked to make more.
  • It tastes SO much better than store bought.

Cons of homemade organic bread…

It does take some time. I usually make bread while working. I start it, work, knead, work, bake and so on. Bread making doesn’t require too much time overall but you will need to schedule breaks from whatever you’re doing to deal with the bread.

Not as long lasting as store bought. This is actually sort of a pro. Most store bought bread has preservatives added to make it last longer. Homemade usually doesn’t so it can get stale and old tasting fast. Really though, homemade bread tastes so good it doesn’t usually have a chance to go bad.

It’s not as soft as store bought. Homemade bread is more bulky and less light and fluffy. Although there are ways around this like you can knead to death (I’m talking 30 mins+) um no. Also if your loaf is too dense you may not be letting it rise long enough. Don’t time it, just wait for it to double in size. Or you may be adding too much flour, your yeast may be too old or your flour may not have enough gluten.

A lot can go wrong. Bread isn’t that hard I swear, but it’s hard enough that stuff can go wrong once in a while so be prepared to accept it and move on – cooking is an adventure. I’ve made some really terrible bread over the last 10 years but also some awesome bread. Luckily you learn as you go. If you want help I suggest you check out The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread which in my opinion is the only bread book you’ll ever need and it’s gorgeous! The bread genius who wrote it, Peter Reinhart, also has many other cool bread baking books but it’s silly to own too many.

A couple of things…

I don’t own a food processor or bread machine because why own extra stuff? I do everything by hand or with a blender (i.e. grinding flax and such). If you have bread making questions I can try to answer it in the comments but keep in mind that I know ZERO about bread machines. Here’s a bread machine guide.

If your recipe calls for a food processor I’m pretty sure you can do whatever is needed by hand. It’s fine to adapt bread recipes.

My boyfriend Dave says the bread recipe below is, “The best bread I’ve ever had.” My son Cedar likes whole wheat bread better though, so later I’ll post that recipe.

FINALLY – How to make homemade organic honey oat bread – a simple starter bread recipe.

Gather up ingredients: (makes 2 loaves)

  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • About 1/3 cup of organic honey
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of warm water (wrist warm – such as you’d test milk for a baby)
  • 2 teaspoons salt or sea salt (I use regular)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – any kind works. I’ve used light and not so light, it’s all good. You can also use veggie oil, I just don’t buy it hence using olive oil.
  • About 4 cups unbleached organic white flour – I always get this in bulk. If none of your stores carry white organic flour in bulk I suggest Bob’s Red Mill organic flour – yes, Bob’s again. I like Bob’s because they’re an independent organic company and for me they’re local. QAI certifies them which is questionable, but overall I like this company.
  • 1 cup organic no frills oats. I get mine in bulk. Oats can be confusing if you’re new to using them. You may see steel cut oats or ground oats at the store, but that’s NOT what you want. You want whole organic oats. Here’s an example Bob’s Red Mill, Organic Rolled Oats but you should buy them in bulk to cut down on packaging and cost.

Make your bread!

  1. Put 1/2 cup of warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the water. Add 1 teaspoon of honey to the water. Let this stand for about 5 minutes (until soft and bubbly looking).
  2. Add the following to the yeast mixture – remaining warm water and honey, warm milk, salt and olive oil. Mix.
  3. Add all the wheat flour, your flax and 2 cups of white flour. Mix with your hands or a huge wooden spoon for about five minutes. It should be pretty darn hard to mix at the end.
  4. Add the oats and 1 more cup of white flour. Mix til oats are incorporated into the dough.
  5. Flour a surface, turn your dough out and knead like mad for about 10-20 minutes – adding a bit more flour to combat the stickiness if needed. I’ll be honest I get bored quickly and knead on the low side, but your bread will be better if you knead longer. If you need help kneading, check out this nice bread kneading tutorial.
  6. When bread is well kneaded it’ll feel springy, smooth and not at all sticky. At this point form your dough into one nice smooth ball.
  7. Place ball o’ dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with a cloth and let it rise until doubled in size. Mine usually takes about an hour and a half. In a warmer house it could be only an hour. DO NOT time it though, just wait til it’s doubled, then…
  8. Get one of the kids to punch that dough down!
  9. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Shape into loaves and place in lightly oiled bread pans. Bread pans should be approximately 4′ x 8′. You can also form these into two little round loaves if you like. Cover your dough with a cloth and let it rise again until doubled. This rising session will likely take less time than the first did.
  10. Once the dough is doubled, turn on the oven to 350 degrees and pop the bread in there.
  11. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when you lightly tap it. Ovens vary temp wise so pay attention to yours and plan accordingly.
  12. Use oven mitts to turn your loaves out of the pans and let them cool on wire racks.
  13. Eat! This bread is awesome when fresh and warm.

To save bread: I keep one loaf on the counter and one in the fridge, wrapped in foil, for toasted bread stuff. If your family eats a lot of bread don’t put a loaf in the fridge, as it dries the bread out. You can freeze homemade bread, but I think it ruins the taste.

NOTES & TIPS:

  • I never preheat my oven, although most bakers would faint to hear me say that. I just hate wasting the energy. This one is your call. Preheat, don’t preheat, it’s up to you. My bread turns out fine without preheating so…
  • One step I’m always forgetting is to grease my bread pans. This is a problem because bread is nicer, and easier to cut when cooled on a rack. Make sure you grease your bread pans!
  • The crust of this bread will be slightly crusty. If you want a soft crust, glaze the bread loaf top with a little organic milk or butter before putting it in the oven to bake. You can also sprinkle the top (before baking and after glazing) with some light grains, like wheat germ for a grainy crust.

If you make this bread let me know what you think in the comments. If you adapt it, tell me what you did to make it your own.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hmm, very thorough bread post! Thanks. Do you have to use whole milk? I never have it on hand for anything else. Have you tried it with 2%?

  2. says

    Hey, I picked up some flaxseed meal, but I tried Jamie Oliver’s recipe first! Sorry. Still going to try this one. I wanted to let you know though that M loved my homemade bread! I made three loaves of Ciabatta this past weekend, and it was rustic looking and tasty — half bread flour and half semolina.

    I was wondering — do you store your bread in the refrigerator? It lasts a bit longer that way, but you have to toast it.

    Also, I got a KA stand mixer for my birthday. It’s my first ever stand mixer. It takes up a bit of space, but I LOVE the dough hook. It makes mixing and kneading a snap. You still have to be patient with the rising, but for people who don’t have a lot of extra time, the stand mixer may be a great advantage.

  3. Jennifer says

    Cool. And no I won’t write Jamie and be like WHY would you make Peggy make your bread first! Ha haha. Glad you tried it and that it was successful. I sometimes do want a mixer, but the space saver in me is so not on board with an extra appliance. But they do look appealing. I get tired of kneading by hand too.

  4. Erin says

    I just tried this recipe tonight. It turned out so great!! My boyfriend and I ate a slice with butter right out of the oven and then made some turkey and provolone sandwiches with the bread. This was my first time ever trying to make bread, so I could not be happier that it turned out so well! Thank you so much for this blog…I love it!

  5. Jennifer says

    That’s awesome! You must be a good baker – even good bread recipes can turn out funky if you’re not careful. This bread is amazing right out of the oven, agreed. It’s my boyfriend’s favorite. What I like about this recipe is that without too much kneading it still turns out good. I love making bread, but get really tired of the kneading part. Thanks for sharing that you liked it – comments like this make my day (night) :)

  6. says

    Jennifer,

    I’ve actually been making homemade bread now every week! Erin is inspiring me to finally try this recipe. I haven’t baked it yet since I keep forgetting to buy oats. I’m one of those bakers who preheats the oven though. With some things it doesn’t matter, but with bread, it makes me nervous not to. I also have a great pan called Doughmakers that allows me to skip the greasing part. It’s amazing, and there’s not even a nonstick finish. I think it’s just in the design of the pan. The surface is kind of bumpy like pebbles.

  7. Jennifer says

    I’m glad you’ve been baking so much – even in the heat! You’ve lost all those bread bags! I know about the preheat issue – everyone but me does it. Real bakers say you HAVE to, I just can’t make myself care enough to do it :) I’ll look into that pan too btw, it sounds really cool.

  8. says

    Jennifer,

    Here’s a link to Doughmakers:
    http://www.doughmakers.com/newmain.htm

    These cookie sheets don’t warp, rust or let food stick. Love them for baking bread. I got mine at Viking many years ago. It costs around $20, but will last forever.

    I’ve always loved to bake, but I mostly concentrated on desserts before, so it’s good I’m finally branching out to bread. I haven’t done the math just yet, but I think it’s saving me money over buying bread at Panera. I picked up some oats yesterday, so I’m making this recipe the next batch!

  9. Erin C says

    I’m looking for the perfect SOFT white bread recipe. You know the store bought wonder bread, thats the softness I’m looking for. Any suggestions on how to get that kind of homemade bread?

  10. Jennifer says

    We rarely eat white bread at my house, BUT over kneading will work for white or wheat. Kneading is key to soft bread. I’m talking kneading for 30 minutes.

    Technically by making white bread, you’re already going to have softer bread to start with. Whole wheat loaves end up dense is because whole wheat flour has less gluten than white all-purpose flour. Also you can try…

    * Using bread flour not basic flour.
    * Adding a TBS of vital wheat gluten per each 2-3 cups of flour.
    * Use the following in your bread (for two loaves) – potato flakes (1/4 – 1/2 cup), milk instead of water, and butter, not oil (2-4 tablespoons).
    * Use 1/3 cup powdered milk non-instant in the recipe.
    * Add Dough Enhancer to the recipe.

    Homemade bread is naturally more bulky and less light and fluffy. But some problems equal less fluffy bread, like… you may not be letting it rise long enough. No matter what the recipe says (i.e. let it rise 1 hour) your dough should double in size when rising – at the end of an hour, if it’s not doubled allow it to keep rising. You may be adding too much flour or your yeast may be too old.

  11. melissa says

    Whew, just finished kneading and now it’s rising. This is my first-ever bread making experience, so we’ll see. It was the perfect thing to do since my daughter only had a half day of school!

  12. Jennifer says

    @Melissa – the worst is over. I like kneading, for about the first five mins. It’s soothing. Then it just gets annoying. I’m a slacker kneader. Glad you and your tot get to bake today and good luck!

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