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Feb 18, 2010 05:01 AM

Worst. Bread. Ever.

A cautionary tale: trust your instincts.

Once a week I volunteer at a soup kitchen. Last night I thought - gosh, I should make some kind of bread or something to bring in. I had the remains of a bag of rolled oats, a jar of dried-out raisins, a few slightly cracked eggs that had to be cooked ( I cracked them myself by accident), and half a tub of yogurt that needed to be used. I found a recipe that included all those things.

On reading through the recipe, I thought - gosh that's a lot of baking soda for one loaf of bread. And then, further, realized that there was no oil or other shortening in the recipe (it was a quick bread). But, like an idiot, I didn't pay attention to the recipe alarm bells. For ONE LOAF the recipe called for 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of rolled oats. Also 1-1/2 cups of raisins, a cup of brown sugar and 2 cups of buttermilk (for which I subbed yogurt thinned with milk). I added about 1/4 cup of veg. oil because I though it should have some. And the piece de resistance: 1 tbsp. EACH of baking powder and baking soda.

First of all, omigod, the sheer quantity of batter! It foamed almost right out of the bowl immediately. So I greased a second loaf pan because - holy cow, it wasn't going to fit in one. THen I spooned the batter in and let it bake.

Well you all know what happened next. The batter grew out of the pans and all over the oven floor. Then the breads sank in the middle before baking to industrial-strength toughness. At the end, I let them cool slightly and, ever the optimist, took a small bite.

Let's just say that there should never be 1 tbs. of baking soda in anything. The chickens, this morning, were very grateful. I never bake a recipe that looks hinky - and this is why. I should definitely have listened to my gut. Oh well. A good reminder.

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    1. Oh God, been there in a way - mixed up baking soda and baking powder amounts in a chocolate loaf cake of Maida Heatter's that I had made perfectly before - talk about chocolate lava cake, it was all over everything.

      1. I saw this in an "I Love Lucy" episode, except that Lucy's loaf of bread cannoned out of the oven about four feet long and knocked her across the kitchen. My own "worst bread ever" was a quick bread that I made to use up leftover canned pumpkin. It came out of the oven half as tall as it went in; even your chickens would have turned up their beaks. Never did figure out what the problem was.

        1. I feel your pain, haven't we all trusted recipes that lied to us?

          Anyhow how about some redemption?

          Here is an EXCELLENT recipe for Honey Oatmeal Bread which is adapted from KitchenAid, and utilizes a stand mixer with a bread hook. It is really really good!

          Honey Oatmeal Bread

          1 1/2 cups water
          1/2 cup honey
          1/3 cup unsalted butter
          5 1/2-6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
          1 cup quick-cooking oats
          2 teaspoons salt
          2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
          2 eggs
          For top of crust:
          1 egg white
          1 tablespoon water


          1. Place water, honey, and margarine in small saucepan. Heat over low heat until mixture is very warm (120-130°F).
          2. Place 5 cups flour, oats, salt and yeast in mixer bowl. Mix with dough hook on speed 2 (low) about 15 seconds.
          3. Continue mixing, gradually adding warm water mixture and mix for 1 minute. Add eggs and mix 1 minute longer.
          4. Still on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix about 2 minutes, or until dough clings to hook and cleans side of bowl. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.
          5. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with damp towel or plastic wrap.
          6. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled.
          7. Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll each half with rolling pan on floured board into a rectangle and roll up from the short end like a jelly roll. Tuck in the ends.
          8. Place each loaf seam side down into greased loaf pans. Beat egg white and water together with a fork. Brush top of loaves with mixture, and sprinkle with oatmeal. Let rise 20-30 minutes.
          9. Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.
          Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

          14 Replies
          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            What size leaf pans do you use? I have 8x4 and 9x5. I always seem to use the wrong one when size is not specified.

            1. re: jmnewel

              Good question jm, I will check when I get home tonight and let you know.

              1. re: jmnewel

                I just measured my pans, they are 8 x 4.

              2. re: TrishUntrapped

                Small typo in the recipe above, under directions, I use only unsalted butter, not margarine.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  Trish, think I can halve this recipe successfully?

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    I was wondering the exact same thing :)

                    1. re: millygirl

                      I think this recipe seems like it would half easily. But that is just my opinion.

                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                        Thank you SO MUCH for posting this recipe. I made a half recipe last night, and it was very well-received. I didn't get to eat a slice, since I'm avoiding gluten, but it was just gorgeous and nice and soft. The shape was very nice as well. My DH and a friend really enjoyed it hot from the oven with preserves.

                        The only change I made was to let the dough rise in the loaf pan for about 20-min. before baking.

                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                          OMG, Christina, yes, the loaves need to rise in the pans about 20-30 minutes!!! I left that off!! I will ask Chowhound if I can correct the recipe. Shoot me know for sorry...glad your good common sense prevailed!

                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                            Thank you to Chowhound for adding second rising time!

                            Christina, glad the bread came out good. My family loves this recipe the most of any bread I make.

                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                              Just wanted to chime in again. I made the recipe a second time, but accidentally ended up letting it rise too long and probably too hot. The bread was nowhere near as good looking or tasting. The crumb was a little funky and the loaf was flat. Yech.

                              Just goes to show that it pays to follow the directions. I'm going to give it another shot this week. Thanks again for sharing this recipe. I feel so accomplished when it turns out! :)

                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                H Christina, I've made the Honey Oatmeal bread recipe twice since the original posting. Came out great both times, so I do feel the recipe is sound. Good luck with your next batch.

                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                  I made it again, this time following the rising times more closely. It came out great!

                                  I halved the recipe and subbed 1 c. wheat flour for white, since I was short. The dough was a little harder to roll out, but it turned out great. It's fantastic for breakfast with eggs.

                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                    Christina, that's great! Nothing, absolutely nothing beats a great hot loaf of bread. Next time I make it I am going to substitute the wheat flour as you did. Always great to get more whole grains in our diet!

                2. Now that would be a fun time lapse video to watch.