This bread is so much easier to make than it sounds and it makes a great sandwich bread. This recipe turns out the best using a stand mixer to knead it but it can be done by hand as long as you are willing to put a little bit of elbow grease into it.
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup cracked wheat (place whole wheat berries in a blender or food processor until broken into smaller pieces)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats + some extra for the top
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour and the yeast.
In a medium saucepan combine the milk, 3/4 cup of water, cracked wheat, cornmeal, brown sugar, oil, and salt. Stir continuously and heat over medium heat until it is between 120 and 130 degrees. You can test this using a cooking thermometer or you can test it using your finger. A good estimate is you should be able to hold your finger in the liquid without burning it but it should be warm enough that it almost feels uncomfortable.
Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture in the bowl of the stand mixer. Turn the stand mixer on and mix until combined. Add the whole wheat flour, the 1/2 cup of rolled oats, and as much all-purpose flour as you need to create a workable dough that does not stick to your finger when you touch it.
Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes and shape into a ball. Put the ball of dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning over to coat the entire surface of the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. This generally takes about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. Grease two 8x4x2 inch loaf pans.
Shape the dough into two loaves by patting it or rolling it tightly into a roll. Place the shaped dough into the loaf pans. Cover and let the loaves rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until they have doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375. Brush the tops of the bread with water and sprinkle with additional rolled oats. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Immediately remove the bread from the pans after taking it out of the oven and cool on wire racks.
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