Brown Bread and Butter…cups

I found a recipe this week for oatmeal Brown Bread in a calendar for King’s Landing Historical Settlement. Since our farm is around the same vintage, I thought I would give it a go. The recipe is delicious but, if you had never made brown bread before, you would be lost with the dismal instructions. The following recipe is from the calendar but the technique is mine. Essentially you are making bread from porridge! Which would make sense given that the Loyalists would need to be very frugal in this new world where food was hard to come by during the long winters.

Ever since last summer, my family has been trying to come up with a name for our farm. Kaitie, our daughter and marketing wizard, insists that we should continue to call it simply, ‘the farm’. She argues that, no matter what we ‘name’ this property, we will always call it ‘the farm’ because we always have. It happened organically which means it fits! She thinks that I am trying to push a title where one is not needed. I understand, theoretically, where she is coming from but I respectfully disagree. I love the idea of this beautiful piece of land being named by our family and naming it at this point in our family’s history. Before we have grand children and while the girls are still single. The bond between the five of us is difficult to articulate but somehow it provides each of us a great deal of strength and confidence. So while we are still five, I would like to christen our farm. I even enlisted my friend Bob Moore, writer extraordinaire, to help. He said it was a little like trying to name someone else’s child. Regardless, even with all of his creative suggestions we continue to hit the brick wall named Kait!

This journey began last June just as the buttercups were coming into season. It was absolutely glorious! Fields of tiny, buttery flowers flowing in the gentle summer breeze. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven.

I boldly suggested ‘Buttercup Farm’… silence and then Ralph gulped and said, “Honey, you can name the farm whatever you like but, if you call it “Buttercup Farm’ I will never be able to tell anybody it’s name… The conversation sort of went down hill from there. Kaitlin quipped, “Doesn’t work Mom.” Geesh, I have a tough crowd!

Today Ralph and I were standing waist deep in buttercups. He loved how beautiful it looked. Sadly, he remains firm on not honoring our prolific wild flower. He’s happy to just enjoy the beauty! And so my quest for a name continues…

Oatmeal Brown Bread

makes 2 large loaves

  • 2 1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup rolled oats…I used ‘Quick Oats’ cooks in 5 minutes…
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup Crosby’s molasses
  • 5 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 5-6 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

THE STEPS:

  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Place oats, butter and molasses in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer.
  3. Pour hot water over and stir until butter melts and mixture is well incorporated.
  4. When mixture has cooled to lukewarm stir in yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Add 3 cups of flour and the salt…mix well
  6. Gradually add the remaining flour until you have a soft dough.
  7. Knead dough until smooth and springy.
  8. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise until it doubles in volume.
  9. Punch the dough down and turn it over, cover and allow to rise again.
  10. When it has doubled in volume, punch the dough down and shape into 2 loaves.
  11. Place dough, seam side down, in greased bread pans, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise until double in volume.
  12. Preheat oven to 375*F
  13. Place loaves in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven, take bread out of pans and sit on cooling rack.

Thanks for reading and all name suggestions for the farm are welcome!