Nothing beats homemade bread for instant comfort. The smell of Mama Shirley's Honey Oatmeal Bread was one of the most wonderful scents to come from the kitchen. This is the kind of recipe that as it bakes, makes us think of people, places, and moments in time when everything seemed perfectly right with the world.
To go back in time for a few magical hours and experience the warmth and the smell of a contented house is priceless. As this bread bakes it does just that, which is why it will always be at the front of the recipe box.
Mama's Honey Oatmeal Bread of Contentment
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup milk
¼ cup honey
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups old-fashioned or quick cooking rolled oats
3¾ to 4¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg white
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon old-fashioned or quick cooking rolled oats (for topping)
Makes 2 loaves
1. In a large bowl, combine the ½ cup water and the yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until foamy.
2. Stir in the milk, honey, butter and salt.
3. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the 2 cups oats, then beat in enough of the flour (1 cup at a time) to make a soft dough.
4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 6 to 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding only as much of the remaining flour as needed.
5. Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl, turning to coat with the butter. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
6. Punch down the dough; then divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
7. Shape each half into a 6-inch round loaf.
8. Place the loaves, smooth sides up, on a lightly greased large baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 1 to 1¼ hours more or until doubled in size.
9. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
10. In a small bowl, combine the egg white and the 1 Tablespoon water; brush the tops of the loaves with the mixture.
11. Sprinkle tops with the 1 Tablespoon oats.
12. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Note: If the loaves of bread brown too quickly lay foil loosely over the tops.
Tips For Storing Bread
When you make homemade bread, the last thing you want is for it to get stale or spoil before you can finish it. If that happens, it truly feels like all of your time and effort has gone to waste! We've got some helpful tips here for extending the longevity of your bread as long as possible.
First, store the bread in the fridge. The cold won't stop the bread from becoming stale eventually, but it will help slow the process down significantly. It can also help slow the growth of mold. Remember that homemade bread has a shorter shelf life than store-bought bread, whether you're keeping it in the fridge or not.
Instead of storing it uncovered, put it in a bread box or similar container and seal it up tight. An airtight container is ideal. By storing it in one of these containers, you'll help keep it from going bad as quickly. Make sure whoever takes a slice knows to seal the container up tightly when they're done!
Finally, you can attempt to freeze the bread if you want. We don't really recommend freezing bread as it can cause it to decline in quality, but if you really want to keep it longer-term you can. Remember to write the date of freezing somewhere on the container, so you'll always know how long it's been in the freezer for.