Posts Tagged ‘oatmeal’

Oatmeal daisy bread

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Marguerite à l'avoine

Vegans get used to reading labels, but it’s a shame we should have to be wary of such a basic food as bread.

Manufacturers have a nasty habit of slipping dairy products into mass-produced loaves, not to mention the permitted additives that may contain animal products. You can’t be sure that bread fresh from the baker’s is any better and it may be harder to find out what’s in it.

One answer, of course, is to bake your own. One of my old recipes for oatmeal bread included not just milk, but butter and honey too, so I started again from scratch, using only the essential flour, salt, yeast and water and gradually increasing the proportion of oatmeal flour to a third of the total. Oats contain very little gluten, so the bread doesn’t rise well if you use more.

My local organic shop sells 42g packets of fresh yeast which are just right for this recipe.

Since discovering Dan Lepard’s books, I’ve more or less given up kneading, but it will do no harm if you find it therapeutic to bash the dough about a bit more.

The shape was inspired by our village baker, who makes a similar white loaf with the centre section the same size as the “petals”. I like to make the middle bigger so there’s a small loaf left to slice for toast when all the rolls have been eaten.

320 g (11 oz) wholemeal flour (I used spelt flour)
320 g (11 oz) wheatmeal or white bread flour
320 g (11 oz) oatmeal flour
2 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
2 tbs fresh yeast or 1 tbs dried yeast
500-600 ml (18-22 fl oz) hand-hot water
1-2 tbs olive oil
Extra flour or fine semolina
Oatmeal or rolled oats

Stir the sugar and yeast into 150 ml (6 fl oz) of hand-hot water (one-third boiling to two-thirds cold works well). Set aside for about ten minutes, until the liquid acquires a frothy head.

Meanwhile mix the flours and salt in a large bowl.

Stir the yeast mixture into the flour and gradually add another 350 ml (12 fl oz) of hand-hot water. Keep adding water (the exact amount will depend on what flours you’re using, the heat of the kitchen and so on) until the dough is smooth and very slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with a teacloth and leave for about 15 minutes.

Smear a work surface with olive oil and, with still oily hands, turn the dough onto it. Knead it quickly and lightly (Dan Lepard advises 12 turns. I do 16. Use your own favourite number or just knead for about 15-30 seconds). Cover the dough with a cloth and leave for another 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile, wash up the bowl.

Smear the inside of the clean bowl with oil, give the dough another quick knead and put it back in the bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave for about an hour or slightly longer, until well risen.

Put the dough back on the lightly oiled work surface and divide it roughly into three pieces. Divide two of those pieces again, each into three. Knead each piece into a ball. Sprinkle a baking tray thickly with flour or fine-ground semolina.

Assemble the loaf by placing the larger ball of dough in the centre and sticking the six smaller balls around the outside. They will not touch one another at this stage. Sprinkle with oatmeal or rolled oats.

Marguerite avant cuisson

Cover with the cloth and leave for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 210°C (Gas 7) and if you have a baking stone, put that in the oven to heat too.

Either slide the loaf gently from the tray onto the baking stone or put the tray straight in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown.

Add some tapenade (the kind that doesn’t contain anchovies) and tomatoes for a quick and tasty vegan lunch. Non-vegans can spread their “petals” with the butter and honey that didn’t go into the bread…

Marguerite + tapenade