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Simple and Easy Mult-grain Bread

Never been a big fan of the soft and mushy white bread you can buy in a grocery store. Back in my “Holly Homemaker” days, we would mix slices of that stuff (without crusts) with Elmer’s white glue to make gooey dough and shape into things used in making jewelry. IMHO, that is about the only good use for that mass-produced soft store bought white bread.

Need I say we prefer hearty multi-grain?  In our local Super Walmart, the price has gone from about $2 to over $4 per loaf! This, plus the fact it is a challenge to find multi-grain bread in some of the place we visit during our seasonal research, sent me back to my old and trusted Betty Crocker cookbook. (How old is it? There are not one recipe for a crockpot, bread-making machine or microwave oven and all the illustrations have the homemaker wearing a pretty little ruffled apron!) Multi-grain is not a term used anywhere in this cookbook but there is recipe for a single loaf of Oatmeal Bread. I’ve modified that recipe and like the results. Here is my:

Simple and Easy Multi-grain Bread (makes one loaf)

3/4 cup boiling water
½ cup old fashion, long cooking, oatmeal
3 Tablespoon soft butter or margarine
1/4 cup light molasses or honey
2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup warm water (should to “bathtub” warm)
2 teaspoons or one package dry yeast
1 egg
½ cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose white flour

– Grease a loaf pan well and sprinkle a little extra cornmeal in the bottom; set aside.
– Stir together boiling water, oatmeal, butter/margarine, molasses/honey, and salt in large mixing bowl. Let cool to lukewarm.
– Dissolve yeast in water and let proof (you’ll see little “islands” pop to the surface – that’s when its ready for use). Add yeast, egg, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, and half of the all-purpose white flour to cooled oatmeal mixture.
– Beat 2 minutes at medium speed on hand mixer or 300 vigorous strokes by hand. (By hand method is more work but give a finer texture.) Be sure to scrape side and bottom of bowl often. – Add remaining flour and blend by spoon only until smooth. It will be very soft and sticky.
– Spread batter evenly in your greased loaf pan. Smooth out the top with lightly floured hand. Option: Sprinkle with extra oats or cornmeal and pat into dough.
– Let rise, covered with kitchen towel, in a warm, draft free location (I put the bowl inside the oven) for one to one-and-half hour or until dough is almost even with top of pan.
– Preheat of oven to 375 degrees. (Don’t forget to take bread out first .)
– Bake 50 to 55 minutes. It’s done when tapping on the top gives a hollow sound and the crust is a dark brown. Immediately remove from pan. Cool on a rack out of any direct drafts. Cool completely before cutting.

This one loaf gives 16 hearty slices and will last us about a week of open-face sandwiches. Toasting enhances its nutty flavor.

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Fred and Suzi Dow