Pease porridge hot
Pease porridge cold
Some like it hot
Some like it cold
Some like it in the pot
Nine days old.
It has come to my attention that among other things this month, such as President Obama's inauguration, January is Oatmeal month. Growing up, my mother would often make oatmeal porridge in the winter. It was so delicious and warm. It's not that grey drippy stuff in those little packets that you shake, pour and add water to. That oatmeal is just not worth it. Her porridge would have dried apricots and figs and would be thick and delicious. We would melt brown sugar into it and pour a dash of cream on top. Sometimes maple syrup would be drizzled over the porridge instead of the sugar.
I confess that I have yet to make my own batch of porridge, but the other day my daughter and I made some delicious oatmeal bread and I am going to share that recipe with you. I love making bread. It's a perfect weekend activity on a cold winter's day. It takes very little hands on time but has this nice way of pacing your day slowly and deliberately. You mix the dough, wait a couple hours and do a little activity with your children, perhaps clean up a little. Then you peek under the cloth and when it's ready you punch it down, always a great stress reliever and a lot of fun for children too, as it's rare they get permission to hit or punch something. (Jen perhaps you need to start making bread.) Then it rises again until perhaps just before bedtime a nice warm slice of oatmeal bread with butter and a drop of honey make the perfect bedtime snack.
So here it is Norene Gillitz's slightly modified Wholesome Oatmeal Bread:
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. warm water
1 pkg of yeast
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
(We don't buy margarine as I was brought up in a household that considered it to be too unnatural to be any good.)
2Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses or honey
(We did one batch with molasses and one with honey. I love molasses but my daughter liked the honey since it was milder.)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. oatmeal (rolled oats, not the quick-cook variety)
1 cup boiling water
2 3/4 c. flour (approx. We did 1/2 cup whole wheat and the rest unbleached white)
Dissolve sugar in warm water. Add the yeast and let it stand for 8-10 minutes. Isabelle had the urge to stir it, which is fine, but just note that the yeast will stick onto the spoon so be sure to get it all off when the time comes.
In a food processor with the steel knife:
Place the remaining ingredients except the flour into the food processor and pulse to mix. Let stand until cool, otherwise you will kill the yeast. Add the yeast mixture plus 1 cup of the flour and process for 4 or 5 seconds. Add the remaining flour and process until the dough forms a ball. Keep mixing for another 30 seconds or so to knead the dough.
On a lightly floured board or counter:
Turn out the dough and knead for 1 or 2 minutes. The dough should feel smooth and elastic. If it is a bit too sticky just add a bit more dough to the kneading surface and continue kneading until it is smooth again. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Turn the dough over in the bowl and cover with a damp, warm towel. Let it rise for 90 minutes to 2 hours until doubled in size. Punch down and let it rise again until doubled in size. Shape the dough into a loaf pan. We had one loaf pan and one round 9 inch pie pan. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled again another 2 hours. (I told you this paces your day out nicely).
Preheat oven to 350°F for about 45 minutes. The bread will sound hollow when tapped. We didnt' do this, but you can brush the top of the crust with a little butter when you take it out of the oven.
Bon appetit. ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)
This is dedicated to Jen K. and her broken hand. Happy New Year Jen!
For more links to oatmeal bread recipes and more: http://www.examiner.com/x-1240-Boston-Family-Foodie-Examiner~y2009m1d3-Recipe--Pease-porridge-hot-pease-porridge-cold