This recipe is adapted from one published by Jennifer McGruther on her blog, The Nourished Kitchen. Soaking flour overnight in milk adds to the process, of course, but it makes the bread’s crumb softer, it’s taste a tad sweeter, and the whole grains easier to digest. Use a large square of beeswax wrap to keep a whole loaf fresh for 3-4 days or a 9-inch round one to wrap your sandwich in for lunch.

Makes 2 loaves

2 cups bread flour, plus additional for kneading

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

1/2 cup rolled oats, plus more for garnishing the top of the loaves

2 cups milk

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Oil

2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a large bowl, whisk flours, ½ teaspoon yeast and rolled oats. Add milk and 1 cup water. Stir to create a loose, shaggy dough.

Cover the mixing bowl tightly and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for eight to 12 hours.

Dump the rested dough into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add remaining 2 tablespoons yeast, butter, honey and salt. Use the dough hook attachment to gently work the ingredients into a smooth dough. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead it for 8-10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough to a large, well-oiled mixing bowl. Cover tightly and allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume, about two hours.

Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and split into two equal portions. Butter and flour two 4 1/2-inch by 8 1/2-inch loaf pans. Roll each lump of dough out into a large rectangle, about 8 by 16 inches. Working from the short end, roll the dough into a loaf, pinching the seam at the bottom of the loaf tightly to seal it. Place the dough, seam-side down, in a prepared loaf pan. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel, and allow it to rise until doubled in size, about two hours.

While the dough rises, heat the oven to 400 F.

Using a pastry brush, gently brush the top of the dough with cream, and then scatter one tablespoon rolled oats over each loaf.

Transfer the loaves to the oven, and bake five minutes at 400 F. Then reduce the temperature to 350 F and continue baking until the crust is a dark brown and the bread reaches an internal temperature of 200 F, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the loaves to cool in their pans for five minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, allowing the bread to cool completely before slicing.

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