One of my favorite things for breakfast at work is toasted homemade bread. I hadn't done any in a while so I looked to see if I had enough ingredients to whip up a loaf. I did, so I did.
One of the things I've been experimenting with is what's called a cold or cool rise. One can mix bread dough, and refrigerate it and even freeze it, and bring it to room temperature and it'll come out just fine. I've always used that as a time convenience or storage method more than anything else.
Come to find out though, there is a specific method or reason for this also. Turns out that when the dough is refrigerated for a period of time, the yeast slows down and the bread doesn't rise much of course, but the bacterias and the rising agents don't! So the taste of the bread continues to evolve and become more complex. And it's true! I really enjoyed the taste of this bread. You should try the cold rise yourself and see.
Also, I found out that dough is SO much easier to shape when it's cold. So you just take it out of the refrigerator the next day, shape in loaves or rolls or whatever, place in the baking vessel, and leave it alone until it returns to room temperature and rises and doubles in size. So easy.
1 package dry active yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warmed milk
3 - 5 cups flour bread flour (added in 1/2 cup increments)
1 cup oatmeal (I used quick oats but regular will work fine also)
1/3 cup molasses
In a mixer bowl, mix yeast with brown sugar. Combine milk and melted butter together, test to make sure it is not too warm (I should warm to the touch but not hot, about 110 degrees) Add to yeast/sugar, stir, and let rest for 15 minutes. If mixture foams, it is proofed and you're good to go.
Add oatmeal, molasses and beaten egg and mix well. Add 2 cups flour, salt and begin mixing, adding flour in 1/2 cup increments until a sticky dough ball forms.
Scrape out onto lightly floured board, sprinkle with flour over the top, and knead briefly for a couple of minutes.
Place into greased bowl, turn over, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight, not to exceed 24 hours.
Remove from bowl onto lightly floured board, punch down and shape into loaf shape. Place in the center of bread pan, and place in a warm area. (I usually heat the oven to 200 degrees briefly, turn off the heat, and just place the bread in there)
Leave the bread alone until it has come to room temperature and risen to twice it's size.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, and then bake in 5 minute increments until the top is browned, and sounds hollow when tapped with your finger.
Let cool before removing from bread pan.
Enjoy plain or toasted. It's delicious toasted though, gotta tell ya.