December 18, 2007
Give us this day
My blog will be three years old by the end of this month. I've written more than a thousand posts. I've written memes, I've done airport blogging, and I've written about numerous blogger meet-ups. I've done cat blogging, dog blogging, and snake blogging. I've even posed nude for the blog.
But readers keep pointing out the one thing I've never done. I've never posted a recipe.
Readers have been clamoring for the secret behind my healthy bread. Well, I might be exaggerating that just a little. I think a total of one reader asked me for the recipe. But you know what they say: for every reader who actually writes an email, there are 37 readers who thought about it.
This recipe came from a book that I no longer own. I never knew the title of the book because I bought it at a garage sale and the cover was ripped off. I've changed some of the ingredients because I'm incapable of following a recipe the way its written. I don't even remember what the original recipe was called, except that I think it had the word oatmal in the title. But my family calls it healthy bread. Because it's relentlessly healthy. It contains no fat, no refined sugar, no oil. And the most peculiar thing about it is that all of my kids and my husband like to eat this bread. My husband, it is true, likes to slather his slice of bread with butter, which completely destroys the whole healthy concept, but everyone in the house will eat the bread when I make it. Two loaves last less than 24 hours in this house, so I have to make it pretty often.
The first part is quite simple. I use 4 cups of rolled oats, 2 cups of water, and one container (12 fl oz) of frozen apple juice concentrate. I dump this all in a big mixing bowl and stir in a whole bunch of raisins. Then I cover the bowl with a plate to keep out all the cats in the house, and let it sit for at least an hour. That helps the oatmeal get soggy.
A few hours later, when I wander into the kitchen to get a snack, I notice the bowl on the counter and think to myself, "Oh, right, I was making healthy bread." At this point, I've usually lost the urge to bake anything, but since I've got this bowl of soggy oatmeal, I'm committed.
So I combine 2 and 2/3 cups whole wheat flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. I mix this together, and then mix it with the wet stuff, until I end up with a big bowl of dough that is about the texture of cookie dough. I divide it in half.
The pans I use are nine-inch round pans, which I grease lightly. After I shape the two rounded loaves, I take a knife and slash each into 4 parts. I bake these at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, and then 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Because of all the cinnamon, the bread makes the whole house smell nice while its baking.
Here's the most important part. When the bread is done, I break each loaf into four pieces and then wrap each piece tightly in aluminum foil — while the bread is still hot. Even though I risk burning my fingers every time I do this, it's important to lock in the moisture because the bread doesn't have any oil or fat to make it moist. The bread has to be kept wrapped tightly in the foil until it's time to eat it because it will dry out really fast.
Healthy bread is a good recipe to make if you live in a busy household with small children because each stage only requires 3 ingredients and can be accomplished in less time than it takes for the kids to notice that you are no longer giving them your attention. It's fairly bland, flavored only by cinnamon, apple juice, and raisins, which means that most kids will eat it. And it is, of course, relentlessly healthy.
That's my youngest son, With-a-Why, in the photo.
Posted by jo(e)