3 tablespoons warm water
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast- DO NOT USE FAST RISE YEAST!
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon bread flour
1 cup oatmeal- I like Old Fashioned rolled oats
1 2/3 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 cup dry instant powdered milk (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 to 3 1/2 cups of bread flour
Place the yeast, warm water, sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour in a small bowl or cup and let it proof- this means that bubbles will form! If bubbles don't form then the yeast is not active and your bread won't rise!
In a large mixing bowl add your Oatmeal, warm water, salt, powdered milk, oil and honey and stir to mix. On low speed, mix in the whole wheat flour and then your yeast mixture. Blend well. Slowly start to add the rest of the four a half cup at a time waiting for it to be fully incorporated before adding the next half cup. When you have 1 cup of flour left begin adding it a couple of tablespoons at a time. YOu want to dough to come together in a ball but to still be moist on the outside. Not so sticky that it sticks to your hand but moist enough that it is still tacky.
If you are going to kneed by hand, once the dough comes together and is still sticky, Sprinkle flour out onto the cupboard and place the dough into the middle in a ball. Now press both heels of your hands into the middle of the ball and push away from you. Once your arms are extended, curl your fingers over the edge and fold the dough back towards the middle. Rotate the ball a quarter turn and repeat.
Here is a great video to show how to kneed dough.
Kneed the dough by mixer or by hand for 5 to 6 minutes. You're done when you can stick two fingers into the dough and the centers pop back out at you. Shape the dough into a ball.
Take a large bowl or plastic container that is at least twice the volume of your dough and grease it with vegetable oil or butter. Place t he ball seam side down into the greased bowl and then turn over to grease the outside of the ball well. This will help keep the dough from drying out. Cover the bowl with a damp dishtowel and let sit until the ball has doubled in size.
(If you are at altitudes over 5000' punch the dough down by pushing into the middle of the ball with your fist and then reshape the dough back into a ball and let rise again.)
Once the dough has doubled again, dump out onto your counter and roll out into a rectangle that is 18" wide. Cut down the middle to make 2- 9" wide strips. Roll each strip up into a loaf shape and place into 2 greased 9x4' leaf pans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees-
Cover the dough in the pans and let rise until almost doubled again.
Place in oven and bake until golden brown or as I prefer to do it to an internal temperature of 190-200 degrees. Baking to temp. keeps the bread from overcooking and drying out.
Remove from oven and let sit in pans for 10 minutes before turning out. Turn out the pans and let cool for at lest 10 more minutes before cutting. Here in Colorado it's very dry and we don't like really crunchy crust so as soon as I take the bread out of the pan I rub a tablespoon or so of butter over the entire outside of the crust to keep it soft.