Sunday, December 30, 2012

I didn't even get a chance to photograph this loaf of bread before it was sliced up for a feast with friends. We had a beauteous evening, after a day of snow that made our garden look like Narnia. Inside, my Pap had a fire going and come darkness there was good food, laughs, and time enough to be calm. The year has come to a close. 

2012 was something. For me, it was one of the hardest and yet one of the fullest and finest so far. I'm not much of one for New Year's resolutions, but I will say I have some ideas for 2013, ideas I'm rather excited about. 

But until then, I leave you with a recipe for a humble loaf a bread. I can say from experience that it's quite tasty with chickpea spread, blueberry goat cheese or tapenade. But I imagine it would pair well with just about anything else you like, eaten pipping hot alone in the kitchen or cooled and consumed at the table with friends. 

Happy New Year, best wishes, be merry and happy! Cheers!

Simple Little Loaf
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

1 1/4 cups warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tablespoon runny honey 
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I'd like to experiment using other flours. Spelt maybe.)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted, for brushing
sunflower seeds and poppy seeds (optional) 

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast blooms and swells a bit - 5 - 10 minutes.
In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.
Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the tin, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the middle. When the bread has risen, sprinkle seeds (if using) on top. Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. I finish things up by leaving the bread under the broiler for just a heartbeat - to give the top a bit deeper color. Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Let it cool on a rack so it doesn't steam in the pan. Serve warm, slathered with butter.
Makes 1 loaf.

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