It dawned cloudy again today, but now, another sunny day up in the Ozarks. Off to the impressive Andrew Carnegie-built library for some jam-making tomes and continued shortcake research...eggs or no eggs? But before that, breakfast out on the deck, with the noisy birds and inquisitive squirrels.
And, as promised, the oatmeal bread recipe.
Rainy Day Oatmeal Bread
1 cup milk
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sorghum or molasses
2 TB butter
2 tsp salt
1 envelope dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 to 4 cups all-purpose or bread flour, or a mix of whole wheat and white flour
In a small pot over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer--just until small bubbles form around the edges of the pot. (Why should I dirty up a pot with milk sludge, you ask? Well, bringing the milk to a boil destroys certain enzymes that could make your bread soggy, or so I've been told. The heat also helps soften up & hydrate the oatmeal flakes so they meld better with the dough. Do keep a close eye on that heating milk, though-it only takes a minute or two to get hot enough. A few more unattended minutes and you'll have a boiling burnt-milk volcano all over your stove, definitely not a good time.) In a large bowl, combine oats, sorghum, butter and salt. Pour milk over oat mixture and stir. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture is barely lukewarm.
Meanwhile, sprinkle yeast in lukewarm water, stir to dissolve, and set aside. When oat mixture is ready, beat in 1 cup flour, then beat in yeast mixture. Add enough flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.
If you want, you can let dough rest for 10 minutes, or you can get right into the kneading. Lightly flour your countertop and knead thoroughly for at least 10 minutes. Dough should become manageable and smooth. If you use mostly white flour, you'll probably get a stretchy, elastic dough; mine was half whole wheat, so it stayed a bit more muscled. Drop dough into a large clean bowl,top with a clean towel and place in a draft-free place (like a turned-off oven) for an hour and a half, maybe more, until doubled in bulk.
Turn out, knead briefly, then stretch into a flattish oval. Tuck edges under and form into a loaf shape. Pat into a greased loaf pan and let rise again (it will go much quicker this time) until it is puffed over the top of the pan.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Let cool for a couple minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack (to keep the bottom from getting soggy from released steam). Let cool to room temp before slicing, if you can.