Flicking through my latest cookbook purchase (Nigella Express – a little late, I know), I was interested to see a recipe for oat bread included in a booked titled Express, given that making bread is a notoriously lengthy process. Reading the recipe however, I can see how the ‘express’ section of the recipe comes into play; that is, you are required to spend very little time in the kitchen actively working on the bread. The great length of time comes in the baking itself.
Unlike most bread recipes, there is no kneading and no rising time allocated so it is merely a matter of mixing the dough together, pouring it into a tin and popping it in the oven.
The resulting bread is, as you would expect, a very dense loaf with a very crunchy crust. The lack of kneading and rising creates the density and also causes some difficultly in discerning whether it is completely cooked.
However, a good half of the loaf was gobbled down, still warm, by Mr t2k and myself for a lazy brunch, topped with peanut butter, cheese, jam or just plain butter. It is an enormously enjoyable loaf of bread, perhaps all the more because of the stark contrast to the wiltingly soft, largely flavourless bread purchased weekly at the supermarket.
- 200g good quality sugar-free rolled oat muesli (I used Organic Cranberry and Almond Muesli from Aldi)
- 325g wholewheat bread flour
- 1 (6g) sachet instant yeast
- 2 tsp Maldon salt or 1 tsp table salt
- 250ml semi-skimmed milk
- 250ml water
Mix the muesli, flour, yeast and salt together in a bowl. Add the milk and water and stir well. The finished ‘dough’ will look like a thick porridge.
Pour the batter into a large greased and lined loaf tin (or use silicon if you have it).
Place into a cold oven and turn to 110º for 45 minutes. Then turn the oven up to 180º and leave for 1 hour. Check the loaf by taking it out of the tin and tapping on the base. It should sound hollow. Put it back in for 10 minutes if need be, otherwise cool it on a rack, if you can resist.
To serve, cut into generous slices and top with whatever takes your fancy. I would suggest just about anything would go well here, with the exception of (and I feel slightly blasphemous to even say it) Vegemite. It will make a delicious breakfast or brunch treat of a weekend by itself, or as part of a larger array of baked goods.
I feel as though I will make this bread again in future not only to enjoy as I have on this occasion but also when we have run out of bread and I need something quick to make for breakfasts and lunches.