Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oatmeal Stout Loaf #BreadBakers

The dark brown sugar and rich oatmeal stout give this loaf more than a subtle sweetness, making it perfect for breakfast or slathered with butter for a mid-morning snack. It's delicious plain or toasted and is complemented both by jam or/and some sharp and salty cheese.

One of my favorite places to browse around in Houston is the main headquarters of an immense gourmet specialties and liquor store called Spec’s, sitting large on three blocks (with ample parking) in an area that is now called Midtown. When I was growing up, we’d have just said, it’s a little south of Downtown. Back then the neighborhood was all run-down wood framed houses, with peeling paint, sagging front porches and inhabitants whose equally downturned expressions reflected the hardship of life in a big hot, humid city where air conditioning was too expensive to run. And Spec’s was just a small neighborhood liquor store. The nearest grocery store was a Fiesta at least a mile and a half away at the squalid south edge, wedged almost under a freeway, between that end of south Downtown and the seedy north end of Montrose, what would later become part of the Museum District.

Now Midtown boasts shiny apartment buildings with faux balconies, grocery stores, trendy restaurants and fern-festooned wine bars and property values have soared accordingly. I don’t know if this was good or bad news for the original folks who lived there but it’s certainly a sign of prosperity and renewal for Houston’s inner city.

A number of years ago, Spec’s even started carrying a selection of deli meats and cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables along with fresh baked artisanal bread and some refrigerated items, along with the gourmet canned goods, liquor, wine and beer, so I guess, theoretically, you could do a lot of your shopping there, assuming your food budget would allow such expenditure. I understand they even serve a plate lunch come midday. Me, I go for the cheese and alcohol.

You are probably wondering at this point when, if ever, I’m going to get to the bread. Almost there now.

My libation of choice this summer was a cocktail, yet unnamed, consisting of the delicious combination of Texas’ own Deep Eddy Ruby Red vodka, a good squeeze of lime, club soda and just a capful of Campari over ice. And I can highly recommend it. But while I was at Spec’s buying those refreshing ingredients, I spied some bottles of oatmeal stout and my mind jumped ahead to this month’s Bread Bakers theme of oats. Unfortunately for that brand, it came only in six packs. A helpful Spec’s employee – they are everywhere and very knowledgeable – found this Texas-brewed one for me instead, saying it was actually much better than my first pick anyway. The Convict Hill oatmeal stout has overtones of chocolate and toasted barley, the bitterness softened by the addition of flakey oats. And I knew it would be a great addition to an oaty yeast loaf.

Many thanks to our host this month, RocĂ­o from kidsandchic. We have a record number of oaty breads for you this month – 28 in all – so make sure to scroll down and check them all out.

1/4 oz or 7g active rapid rise dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup firmly packed or 100g dark brown sugar
1 cup or 100g quick cook whole grain oats
1 1/4 cups or 295ml oatmeal stout, at room temperature
1/4 cup or 60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for buttering pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 - 3 cups or 310-375g unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

To finish:
2-3 tablespoons oatmeal stout
Healthy sprinkle quick cook whole grain oats

In a small bowl, add your yeast with one tablespoon of the brown sugar and the two tablespoons of warm water. Stir gently then leave aside for about five minutes. We are checking to see that the yeast is still alive. It should bubble up and get foamy. If it doesn’t, buy some new yeast and start again.

Foamy and we are good to go!

To a very large mixing bowl, add the oatmeal and the oatmeal stout. Stir well and leave for about five minutes so the oatmeal can soften slightly.

Add in the rest of the brown sugar, the yeast mixture, melted butter and the salt and stir well to combine.

Add in your flour a few big spoons full at a time, mixing well in between. Keep adding and mixing until you have a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes, adding a sprinkle of flour as necessary.

Let rest, covered with an inverted bowl, about 15 minutes. If you aren’t using the rapid rise yeast, allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Butter your 9x5x3 in or 23x13x8cm loaf pan. Form dough into a loaf shape and transfer to pan. Brush surface of dough with oatmeal stout and sprinkle with oats.

Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake bread in middle of oven 45 to 50 minutes, or until browned and bottom sounds hollow when tapped. If it’s browning too quickly, cover with foil. I usually double check for doneness with a thermometer as well. Internal loaf temperature should be about 190°F or 88°C.

Turn loaf out onto rack to cool completely.


And here I give you our Bread Bakers' Ode to Oats, in 28 lines.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: No one has compensated me in any way to say nice things about Spec's. I just like the place.

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