My favorite oatmeal bread recipe comes from King Arthur Flour. I’ve made it regularly over the years. Sometimes, I make it plain for sandwiches or buns. Sometimes, I add cranberries, walnuts or pecans, and cinnamon for a sweeter breakfast bread. However, it uses dairy (milk and butter) and I needed to find a vegan substitute.
I tried using soy milk, but the bread did not rise as well. It was still good, but more dense. I then tried almond milk, but had the same results. Before we had gone completely vegan, I resorted to using powdered milk and Earth Balance in place of the butter.
Then I decided to try cashew milk. I’m not sure what the difference was, but the bread turned out perfectly. You can make cashew milk at home using raw cashews and a high speed blender. It has a eerily similar look and viscosity to whole cow’s milk without the hormones or gamey taste.
I went to a potluck/Dr. Who themed party last weekend and brought two loaves of this bread. I’m the weird vegan who brought homemade oatmeal bread, homemade peanut and almond butters, and some fancy jams. Oddly enough, the nut butter/jelly sandwiches were a big hit with everyone. One person even told me it was the best bread she has ever had, ever. That’s pretty nice to hear.
Vegan Oatmeal Bread
(The following instructions are for the Electrolux or Magic Mill Mixer. You can use other stand mixers, a bread machine or mix by hand but you will have to adjust the directions according to your preferred method.)
Electrolux Mixer: Add the cashew milk, yeast, agave syrup, and melted vegan butter and mix using the roller and scraper attachments. Turn to speed 2 and start the mixer. Add about half of the flour until well combined. This will make a loose dough, similar to pancake batter. Turn off the mixer and let it sit for 20 minutes. The dough will start to bubble as the yeast activates.
Add the rest of the Ingredients: Turn on the mixer and turn up to speed 4 or 5 and add the oats and salt. Continue to add the rest of the flour slowly. You may not need all of it. Mix until combined. Let the machine knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides. If the dough is too wet, add more flour one tablespoon at a time. When it pulls away from the sides turn the timer on for 5 minutes and let the machine knead the dough. When the machine turns off, pull a large piece off and try the window pane test. If it does not, knead for another few minutes until it does pass the window pane test. When it passes, remove the scraper and the roller and place the lid on the bowl and let rise for 60 minutes.
SHAPING: Divide the dough in half. Each half should weigh approximately 2 lbs. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape into a 7″ x 12″ rectangle. Roll the dough into a loaf using the short side. Repeat with the other dough piece. Place the loaves into lightly greased 8″ x 5″ loaf pans, cover the pans (with an acrylic proof cover, or with lightly greased plastic wrap), and allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it has crested 1″ to 2″ over the rim of the pans.
Alternately, you can divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into buns. They make excellent sandwich or hamburger buns.
BAKING: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. If baking buns, check them after 20 minutes. They are ready when the tops are golden brown and the thermometer registers 190ºF.