Saturday, January 3, 2009

Porridge bread

One of the best things about visiting the Normaway Inn in Margaree Valley, Nova Scotia, is the porridge bread they make. This is not to detract from any of the inn’s other charms, but is a testimony to their bread.

It has been years since I have had it, and here is my attempt at recreating it. I used all white-flour, but you could probably use part whole-wheat or wheat-germ. This is a small batch, because I know the dough-hooks on my mixer can handle a batch of dough based on 2 cups of liquid, and I wasn’t in the mood to knead by hand.
  • 2 c water
  • 1 c oats or oatmeal
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • enough molasses
  • salt (1 tsp?)
  • flour: about 5 c
Boil water. Pour over oats. Add butter, and the amount of molasses you think appropriate (see also below).

Let stand until cooled slightly, where you can comfortably stick your finger into the mix. The oats will have softened, and the mix will now be the right temperature for the yeast.

Add the yeast and let proof.

Mix in the flour gradually until you get the right texture, kind of like an earlobe. I did this all with the dough-hooks on my mixer, but if mixing by hand, start with a spoon and then knead in the rest. Add molassses if needed; I like this to have some taste of molasses without being too sweet; I added molasses until the dough was kind of the colour of light brown sugar or a very milky café au lait. My dough was a bit stickier than an all-wheat-flour dough, presumably because of the oats, and so a little hard to shape into loaves later on... but we are not there yet.

Grease the bowl and dough-top if you feel like it, cover the bowl, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled.

Punch down dough. Shape into loaves as best you can. I grabbed some dough and rolled it between greased hands into a ball-blob, and placed two ball-blobs into a greased loaf pan. Let rise until doubled.

I baked until done 375F, though often bread is baked at a higher temperature.

1 comment:

Mark Reynolds said...

Hey Victor,
A friend of mine here has started a cooking blog. It's in French, English and Dutch. I thought you might be interested, and she's a pretty good cook. Address is here, if you wanted to check it out and maybe give her a little bloggerly encouragement: http://www.volkskrantblog.nl/blog/90052