January sometime feels like a heavy blanket spread over over a cranky kid at bedtime. It’s often opposed with some kicking and screaming, but know we need it to straighten out and freshen up. Embrace January, people. It’s a good thing.
Resolution for this kid? Well, they’re few. When it comes to food – getting really in to quality over quantity, learning more about the story behind the meals that grace my plate, and getting back to the basics.
What’s more basic than baking bread? Well – nothing, and lots at the same time. It’s something that we’ve been doing for thousands of years – but any rookie will inform you that crafting the perfect loaf’s no joke. That said, all you need to get your started is some patience and some good tunes to fuel you through the day as you waft in and out of the kitchen, to check, knead, check, knead, bake, and enjoy. I used some of the region’s best local products, Speerville organic oats and Crosby’s molasses from New Brunswick and the gorgeous Hutchinson’s maple syrup from the Annapolis Valley here in Nova Scotia. I didn’t have quite enough molasses, so topped it up with maple, so glad I did. Added an extra little dimension of sweetness.
Butter this bread up. Adorn it with molasses. Sharp cheddar too? Hells yes. Nothing will warm your heart and belly like a slice of this on a snowy January day.
The recipe hails from my most recent cookbook infatuation, ‘Best Recipes of the Maritime Provinces’ by Elizabeth Baird. It was contributed to this amazing recipe compilation by the Blomidon Inn in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. It was so good coming out of my oven for the first time, I can’t imagine how fantastic it must be after (presumably) years and years of production there.
Blomidon Inn Bread
Best Recipes of the Maritime Provinces – Elizabeth Baird
1 cup large-flake rolled oats (I used Speerville NewFound oats from NB)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1.25 cups molasses (I used about 3/4 c molasses and 1/2 c maple syrup)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 tbsp sugar
7 cups all-purpose flour
In one bowl, stir together first 6 ingredients and let cool to lukewarm. In a separate bowl, stir together the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Wait a moment until the yeast gets foamy and stir it around to make sure it is well distributed.
In a stand mixer, combine oat mixture and yeast mixture and mix at lowest speed until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in one cup of flour at a time. You want the dough to be firm, but not dry or sticky.
Turn the dough on to a work surface and knead it for about 5 minutes, until the dough is stretchy and elastic.
Divide the dough in half and shape it into loaves. Place it into two well-greased/parchment lined loaf pans. Cover the loaves and let them rise in a warm spot until the dough is about 1 inch over the top of the loaf pan, about 60-75 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 350F, pop them in for between 25-30 minutes. Mine took a solid 30. To test for doneness, tap on the loaves, when they sound hollow inside, they’re done!
Remove from pans and cool on a rack. Enjoy warm, toasted, for sandwiches, or freeze a loaf for later! It is super hearty and will hold up no problem.