Honestly, is there anything better than a tomato sandwich? (Ok, I’ll pause now, while you glance up to the top of the post and make sure you read “Oatmeal Bread” right. You did. No need to question your sanity, at least for the moment. Watch me bring it back around to the oatmeal bread.) To me, the perfect tomato sandwich consists, obviously, of perfectly ripe homegrown tomatoes, bright red and insanely juicy, a sprinkle of salt, and a hefty smear of mayo all sandwiched between to very lightly toasted pieces of a light, fluffy sandwich bread. While the tomatoes are obviously the star of the show, all the other elements have to be in the correct proportion to make them really sing. Isn’t this true of so many things? So when it comes to making a tomato sandwich, I want to have a sandwich bread that’s just right. Enter the Oatmeal Bread. (See, you only had to hang in there with me for an entire paragraph to get back to the bread!)
A good sandwich bread is hard to find. A whole grain loaf, while delicious, can really overpower a lot of fillings. A brioche loaf can be wonderful, but making one is pretty involved and the end product is often more buttery than what I really like. Many people would swear by good old Wonder bread for tomato sandwiches, which actually is a decent option, but it sort of just dissolves and I hate the way it gums up when I chew it. Basically, I want a sandwich bread that is sturdy enough to hold my sandwich together, but still tender, has a little hint of sweetness, but not too much whole-grain flavor. Oh, and I want it to make good toast, because I just do, and I’m the bread baker, so if I want bread that toasts well, I should get it.
This oatmeal bread is everything I want in sandwich bread. It’s delicious, the perfect texture, and the recipe is virtually idiot-proof. I’m not kidding; the last time I made a batch I accidentally left out the yeast, and only remembered after I had shaped the dough for the first rise, at which point just threw the dough back in the mixer with the yeast, gave it another minute of kneading, and hoped for the best. It still turned out perfectly. The resulting loaves make great bread for your morning toast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and, as it turns out, tomato sandwiches.
If you'd like the bread to be a bit sweeter, you can add 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tbsp of honey to the oat mixture in the beginning. You could also sub maple sugar for all or part of the brown sugar.
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, combine the water, oats, brown sugar, butter, and salt. Let sit until it cools a bit, to lukewarm.
Add the yeast and flours and stir to form a rough dough (either by hand or in a stand mixer). Then, knead until the dough is smooth and satiny, about 7 minutes in a mixer, a bit longer by hand. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise for an hour. It should approximately double in bulk.
Divide the dough into two pieces, and shape each into a loaf, placing each in a bread pan. Cover the plans with pastil wrap and let them rise for about another hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the loaves in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown on top. Let cool before slicing.