I reworked this, having misplaced the original notes.
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Steel Cut oats
1 1/2 t salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons sweet butter
1 Cup water
1 T Yeast
1/3 Cup AP Flour
Bring the oats to a boil in 2 cups of water. Remove from the boil and add remaining ingredients. Allow to cool to "just warm" before mixing the dough.
Mix the yeast, warm to the touch water (too hot will kill the yeast), and flour in a vessel large enough handle some yeast growth. This concoction is called the sponge.
Add the sponge and oats together in a mixing bowl with a beater and slowly mix together. Gradually add flour over a few minutes a little at a time. Make a moist sticky dough and shift to a dough hook after adding 3 to 4 cups of flour. Continue adding flour slowly in small amounts (spponfuls), eventually forming a dough ball that sticks to the hook while the sides of the bowl become progressively "cleaner". Once the ball is formed the dough will "restick" to the sides of the bowl unless you add flour at the right moment. A little bit at a time enables you to control the moisture in the bowl as well as avoid texture issues associated with uneven mixing (globules). This may be all "old hat" but the small stuff can make this process a lot easier and the bread more consistent.
Allow the dough to more than double in mass in a lightly oiled bowl (the same bowl you mixed it in, unless you like doing dishes). Cover during the rise using lightly oiled plastic wrap, or a lightly floured cloth towel. Punch, divide, knead, and form into loaves (makes three medium sized loaves, or two large). Allow to double in size (a nice sized loaf, cover the same way you did on the first rise) and bake at 350 for 30 - 40 minutes depending on loaf size. The "hollow when thumped" adage works pretty well. I make two mediums and two super small in some "cutesy" little teflon loaf pans I used back during the Lauder days. These littler loaves are the ones I devour while it's still hot. I will continue to eat the other two loaves until I become semi-comatose, so I wrap them in plastic after they've completely cooled and freeze one.
This makes the best toast ever. If you've had better, I'd like to taste it. Actually Rustica Fruit and Nut with Hope butter pretty much rocks the toast world too. Anadama bread with honey. Next morning Challah french toast. Russian Black Bread with lox and cream cheese. Acme Currant Walnut. Acme Levain. Pastificio Olive Bread hot from the oven at the market with fresh baked danish and a Blue Bottle Cappuccino. Fanny beginet. Cheese board raisin brioche. Bread Garden morning bun. I am hugely grateful for the bread in the world.