Soft Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

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.