I’ve made my whole wheat oat bread twice now, the second time omitting the oatmeal because I simply didn’t have any, and the results were just as delicious both times. However, I’ve been trying to make them pretty, with the addition of oats as a topping the first time, and rosemary the second (because I used rosemary in the dough), and I didn’t have any luck getting them to stick. I didn’t use anything the first time, and olive oil the next, and while the olive oil gave it a lovely flavour, it didn’t make it stick, so I did some research, came back with a ton of cool information on how to make great bread, and am now happily sharing my findings!
I discovered that an egg wash is the way to go to get toppings to stick, steam makes the bread crusty and wonderful, and that the giant slab of baking tile sitting unused in my cupboard was finally needed! I imagine it must feel very happy and loved… if it had emotions.
I began with my recipe for whole wheat bread (doubling it, leaving out the oats, and adding rosemary as I suggested in the post). Once I had my bread sitting in loaf shapes on an oiled baking sheet, and I had covered it with a damp cloth raised over the sheet using four tumblers, I began preheating my oven to 350 F, with my baking tile inside on the middle rack.
While waiting for it to rise for the second time, I gathered my ingredients for a fancy and delicious topping. One small egg, poppy-seeds, freshly picked big thyme, and freshly picked rosemary, grown in my own backyard!
When the bread was finished rising, I beat the egg in a small bowl, then used a silicone brush to gently brush the surface of the bread with the egg wash. This gives it a gorgeous glossy finish, and makes the toppings stick really well. I used the cooking sheet to make it easier to handle the bread. (I left the bread on it when I put it in the oven, on top of the baking tile.)
After that, I sprinkled my toppings over the bread, and made it pretty!
For the next part, you need a rather sharp knife. I used my slightly chipped, but much adored ceramic Cuisinart, to slice along the length of the bread.
After that, it was time to bake! I stuck it into the oven, on the cookie sheet, on top of the baking tile, and baked for 33 minutes exactly, only because that’s when it was done. Use the time that your recipe tells you. Mine says 30-35 minutes.
Now, here’s another cool trick! As I mentioned, steam makes bread nice and crusty, so I chilled a clean spray bottle full of water in the fridge for a bit, and sprayed water into the oven to create steam, shutting the door quickly afterwards. I did this the first time I put it in, and about 3 times after that, every 5 minutes. This bread turned out really lovely. My whole family adores it, plus, it’s completely whole wheat and infused and topped with herbs, so it’s one of the healthiest breads you can get your hands on! It tastes magnificent.
I left this photo undoctered, to show how gorgeous it really is. Its taste lives up to its looks!