The Frugal Baker & Soft Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

Friday, August 27, 2010

From the very beginning, home cooks have held firmly to the values of economy and thrift. We as bakers can carry on with that tradition in our daily lives by watching for opportiunities that will saave us a few dimes here and there. Not that the savings will make or break us. it's more for our psychic balance sheet, the satisfaction that comes with knowing we're putting our resources to full use instead of squandering them. That said, here are some baking habits up for adoption.

* Use butter wrappers to butter pans with. The best ones come from soft sticks of butter because more of the butter clings to the wrapper.

* Don't throw away any egg washes you glaze yeast breads with (or yolks or whites that are not needed in a recipe). Use them in pancakes, waffles, for an omelet, or anywhere else you'd use an egg. Another option, if the bread recipe itself includes and egg, is to beat the egg before adding it to the dough and then reserve a teaspoon or so of it for the wash.

* Use potato cooking water in bread. It's a shame to throw out that good stuff.

* By the same token, incorporate leftover mashed potatoes or squash in your baked goods, particularly yeast breads.

* Make bread crumbs from stale bread. I just use a box grater for this and then toast them briefly in the oven on a baking sheet. Or just give your stale bread to your backyard poultry.

* Wash out empty honey and molasses jars with a small amount of hot water. Put the lid on, shake it up, and use ut as parat of the liquid in yeast breads. Or loosen it by putting the entire jar in a saucepan of water set over a low heat.

* Turn your pastry scraps into something yummy!

* If you have the storage space and the cash, and you bake often, buy in bulk. This way you always pay less for honey, flour, maple syrup, whatever. One other nice thing about buying in bulk: you aren't always running out of something.

What are your best frugal baking tips?

Sharing one of my favorite everyday bread recipes.

Soft Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
(Printable Version)

1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
2 cups hot milk
½ cup honey
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 pkg (or 2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/3 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 large egg
1 Tbsp salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 to 3-1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 extra Tbsp of oats for sprinkling on top

Put the oats in a large mixing bowl and pour the hot milk over them. Stir in the honey and allow to cool to body temperature. Meanwhile, put the water in a small bowl and stir in the yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes to dissolve. Once the oats have cooled, stir in the dissolved yeast, the buttermilk and the whole wheat flour and beat vigorously for 1 minute with a wooden spoon. Cover this sponge with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes in a warm, draft-free spot.

Using a wooden spoon, beat in the egg, salt and butter until well blended. Add the unbleached flour, ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough is too dense to stir, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, periodically dusting your kneading surface with flour; knead gently at first to prevent the dough from sticking. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it to coat the entire surface of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside, in a warm draft-free post, until the dough is doubled in bulk. Butter 2 4-1/2X8-1/2-inch loaf pans and sprinkle the inside pf each with about 1 Tbsp of oats.

When the dough has doubled, punch it down, kneed briefly, and divide in half. Shape the halves into loaves and place them into the prepared pans. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, preheating the oven to 375°F when the loaves appear nearly doubled.

Bake the loaves for approximately 40 minutes, until nicely browned. When done, the bottom crusts should give a hollow sound when thumped with your finger. Cool the loaves on a rack before slicing. Store in sealed plastic bags. Makes 2 loaves.

Sharing at Michael Lee's Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum! Happy Friday Everyone!!


  1. Cindy said...:

    These ideas are very good to store up in our noggins. This recipe looks yummy!! Will have to give it a try!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

  1. Great tips, Gail, many I didn't know of and thanks so much for the recipe!


  1. Anita said...:

    Very, very good Gail!! I use leftover potatoes to make potato pancakes with onion/milk and egg. My mom uses potatoes to make salmon croquets. I have never been great at bread baking, although I can make good cornbread and scones.

  1. Barb said...:

    What wonderful tips! And I can't wait to make the bread, it sounds delightful! I have been trying to use only whole wheat for baking - it's a challenge!

    I can remember watching my grandmother cook when I was a child. She loved cream gravy and would often use the water from whatever vegetable she was cooking to thin the gravy, and give it some extra flavor, after it had cooked a bit. I still do that today, no reason to throw away the water from the green beans!

  1. great tips!! I so love to bake bread. Potato water is a terrible thing to waste!
    I burnt a brownie mix once....ok maybe more than once but I keep it, cut off the worst of it and use it in a trifle.

  1. When I buy bread it's oatmeal. I look forward to trying this recipe this fall-thanks!

  1. Thank you for the forehead-smacking moment :) I have been TOSSING bread loaf heels but will now be saving them to dry and use as crumbs. Also, I'm proud to report that last week, while making meatloaf, I realized I did not have enough crackers to crush for filler... but, I DID have two bread heels, so I tore them up into very small bits and used those... BETTER than crackers!

    Also, for YEARS one of my favorite treats has been "pie dough scraps," which of course is just cinnamon & sugar sprinkled on the cut-offs and baked up. I've been known to make a pie crust JUST to turn it into scraps :)

    Finally, a quick and happy "thank you" for visiting my blog this week!

  1. Alison said...:

    What wonderful tips! I remember my grandma doing so many of these. Great reminder. Thank you!
    ~Prairie Story of Alison Zulyniak

  1. Great tips - and I love your bread recipe. Oatmeal bread always tastes so lovely. I've not made it from scratch before (although I do make bread) so I will give your recipe a try!

  1. Those are excellent ideas! I like to bake in bulk and then freeze - bread loaves freeze well as do cookies, brownies, etc.

  1. Katie said...:

    Those are some great tips...I guess I am not a very frugal baker, LOL! I will especially try the whole butter wrapper one. Clever.

    THe bread looks awesome...I will give that a try soon.

  1. Katie said...:

    Oh, I forgot to leave my tip. I always use leftover bread ends to make crutons. Just cut them up, toss with olive oil and seasonings, and bake for about 20 minutes...yummy!

  1. I think I'm going to have to start a file just for your recipes...I keep saving them! One more to try!

  1. Kathleen said...:

    Looks delicious! Great tips, I am a very frugal baker! Soggy oatmeal cookies turned into topping baked on some apple slices with cinnamon and sugar!

  1. Diann said...:

    Hi Gail!

    All those tips i do as well (ecept the honey one. I haven't tried that yet). This recipe looks great. I was just looking for oatmeal bread recipes the other day. I have lots of oats and so I need to start using them!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  1. LDH said...:

    Love the bread recipe and the tips. To get the last out of the molasses jar, I remove the lid and microwave a few seconds and the warm molasses pours our easier. Swishing with water probably gets every drop :)

  1. Cathy said...:

    I'm a thrifty person by nature and appreciate your excellent tips, Gail. Any leftover bits of bread around here are made into croutons and bread crumbs. I save all my bits of vegetables and put them in a container in the freezer. When it's full I make veggie stock for gravies and soups.

  1. Great tips Gail. I want to start making more breads from scratch. I'll save this recipe to file.

  1. Kim said...:

    Those are good tips, Gail. I often forget to use my leftover eggs (I have yolks sitting in the 'fridge right now!). Your bread looks wonderful, I haven't used oatmeal yet.

  1. My daughter learned to make bread this summer. Her favorite recipe is oatmeal bread.

  1. Thanks for the baking tips! The bread recipe sounds delicious! I want to try it!


  1. Can this be made in a bread machine? I am kneading impaired. LOL

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