Honey Oat Bread
This time last week, I was very pregnant. 37 weeks, large and in charge, swollen feet, hot flashy… pregnant.
This time last week, I had plans to get a mani/pedi, finish the baby’s nursery, and type up a few blog posts before my maternity leave.
This time last week, unbeknownst to me, I was very much so in labor.
I am overjoyed to announce that last Wednesday, May 11th, at 1:52 pm, Brett and I welcomed a baby boy into the world. At 6 pounds and 10 ounces, 19 inches, and a shade that would be best defined as mauve, our son, a few weeks early, took his first breaths of this world’s air.
I don’t know if I believe in love at first site, but I will tell you that there is nothing quite like holding your newborn child for the first time. The sight of a tiny person made up of your own flesh and blood provides a rush of emotional adrenaline that is the perfect mix of exhaustion, joy, and heart explosion. We still hadn’t picked a name, but after he was taken away to be cleaned up, Brett and I settled on George Ellis Wood. George, a nod to Brett’s grandfather and uncle, and Ellis, which means “mouthpiece of God” and “the Lord is my God”, was chosen after a few minutes of deliberation, and week into his golden little life, I will tell you I couldn’t be more excited about our choice.
George experienced some difficulty breathing almost immediately, and after a few hours of observation by our pediatrician, it was decided that he would require treatment at a facility about an hour away. After being held by his mama only once, George was whisked away by ambulance and I was left to recover in my original hospital room, completely overwhelmed by the day’s events.
Fast forward to today.
George is still in the NICU, but he’s doing splendidly and getting closer and closer to breathing on his own. I’ve held him three times since then (4 if you count holding hands), and every time feels like the first.
When unexpected things happen, it’s easy for me to become overwhelmed, ask “why?”, and to question God’s sovereignty in my life. This past week, however, has been a uniquely different experience. While overwhelming at times, we have been supported and covered in prayer in a way unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. We’ve been on the receiving end of hundreds of calls, texts, and hugs, and I feel so at ease and peace with leaving our son in the care of his medical team. I’ve seen answers to prayers and evidence of God’s action over the course of this week, and instead of “why?”, I’m just really grateful to have a little baby’s hand to hold. We’re not home yet, but baby George is doing well and that’s all I could hope for at this point. If you have been joining us in prayer- thank you. You have given us the greatest gift you have to give.
Also, can we take about these photos? My best friend, Jesse, of Dreamtown Co. flew to Alabama the morning I went into labor. Friends that will cancel their entire week of plans to hold your sweaty hand while you push a baby out are a rare commodity. She’s a terrific lady with photography skills to boot, so check out her site here. Also, as you can see, she’s a babe.
And ok, I know what you’re thinking: “Um, hello, where’s the food? Where’s the recipes”
I couldn’t agree more.
Today I’m sharing with you my recipe for honey oat bread. As luck would have it, I baked several loaves to store in our deep freezer just three days before baby George decided to wiggle in to the world. It’s a good thing too because we would all be lost without this bread. Jesse, who stayed at my house while I was in overseeing George at the hospital, texted me asking, “WHERE IS THIS BREAD FROM, I’VE EATEN THREE SLICES ALREADY?!”
I was proud to tell her that I was the one responsible.
In creating honey oat bread, I started with my no fail whole wheat sandwich bread recipe and then modified it a bit to include oats and honey. It’s not 100% whole wheat, but the extra gluten from the all purpose flour makes it soft and chewy which is perfect at breakfast time under a shmear of peanut butter or jam. I highly recommend this bread toasted with salted butter and honey or a little cinnamon and sugar. I also highly recommend making multiple loaves at a time and cramming them in your freezer in case you happen to go into labor unexpectedly.
Please continue to love on little George. It makes my mama heart glow. And happy bread baking!
- 1 cup warm (but not too hot) water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cup milk (I use 2%), room temperature
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil
- 1 cup quick cook oats, plus more for sprinkling on top of loaf
- 5 (or more) cups of all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons cream
- Pour water in a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer,and sprinkle the yeast over top of it. Allow to sit for 5 minutes while yeast dissolves and activates.
- Meanwhile, combine milk, honey, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the activated yeast water and stir until combined.
- Add the oats, 1 cup of the flour, and the salt and stir until loosely combined. Add the remaining 4 cups of flour and mix until combined.
- Using the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer, or by hand, knead the shaggy dough together until a soft ball of dough is formed. Add additional flour 2 tablespoons at a time if it remains too wet, however, keep in mind, this is a fairly moist bread dough. When finished, it should feel tacky to the touch and won't be completely smooth because of the oats. I knead for 3-4 minutes on low speed on my stand mixer.
- Place dough ball into a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise in a slightly warm environment for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once doubled, dump dough out on to a floured surface and separate in to two equal pieces. Form dough into a loaf shape and place each piece in its own lightly greased bread pan (8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 3/4").
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover bread pans with dough inside with plastic wrap and allow to rise for a second time, about 1- 1-1/2 hours, or just until the dome of the bread has risen one inch above the lip of the pan.
- Lightly brush the top of bread with cream and sprinkle with remaining oats. Place in the oven and immediately lower heat to 375 degrees. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown.
- Allow to cool for ten minutes inside the pan on a cooling rack, then remove from pan and cool completely before packaging.