Homemade Brown Bread
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons salt
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
4 3/4-5 1/4 cup unbleached flour
1. In a bowl, combine the water, oats, shortening, and salt. Cool to 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, sprinkle with sugar, and let rest about 5 minutes. Make sure yeast is foamy.
2. Add oat mixture, brown sugar, molasses, wheat germ, and 3 cups flour to the yeast mixture. Mix well. Add enough of the remaining flour (1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups) to form a soft dough.
3. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 6 to 8 minutes. Knead just until it's smooth. If it's still sticky, add some flour a little bit at a time until it isn't anymore. Place in an oiled bowl. Turn once to grease top. Cover, place in a warm spot, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Grease two 9x5x3" loaf pans.
4. Punch dough down, divide in 1/2. Shape into loaves and place in prepared pans. Cover and let rise until doubled again, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden. Bread is done when the outside is hard and crusty, and it will sound hollow when you knock on the top of it. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
Baking bread takes practice, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't turn out right your first time.