Maple Oatmeal Bread

Maple syrup isn’t just something you pour on pancakes around here.  Oh no, it is a very, very big deal.  The process is precise and communal and talked about everywhere you go.  Opinions are distinct and livelihoods are at stake.  This tapping business is serious stuff and we are very lucky to benefit from it all.  Even our tiny tiny town’s bi-weekly story hour revolved around it last week.  With a full tour around the property, a good explanation of the giant bubbling machinery, a delicious story, and some vanilla ice cream topped with warm syrup to finish things off just right, we were in heaven.  Well almost.  With the worlds most chewed up dirty old check book in hand, I knew that there was no leaving this place until I had a trunk full of that Grade B amber liquid.  So, I did what any pregnant woman new to Vermont would do and purchased an astounding amount of syrup bottled and boxed and sealed tight.


Since then, I have tried to ration, really I have, but it seems my oven is always smelling of pancakes regardless.  There has been maple muffins and maple  yogurt and maple glazes and maple dressings and of course you knew there would be maple bread.  Maple Oatmeal Bread to be precise.  With every toast of the toaster that maple smell goes wafting back into your nose with this loaf.



Maple Oatmeal Bread

1/2 cup of coffee

3/4 cup of maple syrup

1 cup of boiling water

1/3 cup of melted butter

1 cup of oats (your leftovers could suffice)

1/4 cup of brown sugar

2 tsp sea salt

5 tsp. dry active yeast

1/4 cup of luke warm water

2 eggs

6 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Combine first 7 ingredients.  Meanwhile mix up yeast and warm water and let it get all bubbly so you know its alive.   Mix eggs into your batter and the bubbly yeast.  Stir in flour one cup at a time until your spoon can’t do the work.  Turn onto a floured surface kneading until it’s just over sticky.  Turn into a well buttered bowl and let double in size.  About 1.5 hours.  Split in half and fold into two loaves.  Place them in very well buttered loaf pans cover them up and let them rise again until at the edge of the pans top.  This shouldn’t take very long at all.  Place in a pre heated 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes, let cool slightly and turn onto a drying rack.  Wait until its mostly cooled to slice and slather in butter and if your sweet tooth is really bothering you top with a little extra syrup too….

short days, long minutes. And a nice sandwich bread recipe too.


Rejoice!  The temperature spiked at a balmy 25F yesterday!  Big, fat, wet snowflakes stuck to our eyelashes rather than the tiny, frosty cold variety that creates mounds of dust all around.  We took the warm sunshiny day to head to VINS raptor center, where we hadn’t ventured in quite some time.  We were, perhaps, the only visitors of the day, and that was all right- the birds had plenty to say to their only company.

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Though the hours of sunlight are so very short, the days still seem insurmountably long sometimes.  The boys seem to be learning their strength against one another more and more, and my patience is wearing thin.  My tactic of separate and give love is starting to look like separate and stuff my face in a pillow.  We need more of these warming days to get us through.  Or at least another room available to play in (you may remember our flooding left us stranded in our upstairs).  Yesterdays many hours outdoors certainly made a dent in the -need to run and jump and explore- deficit.  But, it also left us hoping for more, which can be a dangerous thing in late January in Vermont.

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Thank goodness for hot cocoa and warm home-made bread.  They bring a well deserved comfort to prepare for a long day ahead.  Now that warm things don’t make me sick (what a cruel punishment that was… oh first trimester… I am so glad to be passed you!), I have been indulging in rich hot chocolate’s on the daily.  I sink a few pieces of dark chocolate into mine when no one is looking and it is the secret treat that feeds my soul.  Next time you or your troop is weary from the cold give it a try, you will see.

Country White Bread

(adapted from Beard on Bread)

Heat 2 cups of whole milk on the stove top with a 1/4 cup of honey and a tablespoon of salt until the edges form little bubbles.  Turn off heat and cool to body temperature.

Proof 4 teaspoons of yeast in a touch of the warmed milk until light and frothy.  Mix in the rest of the milk along with 5 cups of unbleached flour.  Knead with more flour until satiny and smooth and not sticky to the touch.  About 5 minutes.

At this point you can place your bread in an oiled bowl with plastic wrap over the top to proof overnight in the fridge or you can proof it right away.  I like to make this at night and bring it out with the sun, letting it warm up and rise for the first few hours of the day.  When it is doubled, split it in half and place in two loaf pans (well greased).  Let the dough rise until it reaches the pans edges, brush with an egg wash (egg and a tablespoon of water).  Place in a preheated 400F oven for 40 minutes until you knock and it sounds hollow, or until it registers at 190F.

Cool, slice, and slather with mascarpone and strawberry jam.  Serve with a cup of hot cocoa after a morning walk through the cold winter air.  I promise, everyone’s spirits will improve.


no knead… the easiest bread you ever made

There are few things as good as home-baked bread we all know.  I know this all too well.  But the truth is my arms started aching after last years endeavours.  Granted I still have the need to knead (hahaha…), but it sure is nice to have a few options.  This one will knock your socks off.  That is one hundred percent guaranteed.


inspired by a recipe in my new favorite book –an everlasting meal

2 cups whole wheat flour (if you can get the whole grain, germ included do it.  It makes all the difference in the world)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. yeast

1 tsp. salt

1.5 cups of water

Mix everything together in a bowl let sit for 18 hours or so.  If you keep your house like I do, you will need to wrap it in a blanket or two.  Take the dough out onto a floured surface and fold over itself a few times.  Let is rest covered in a napkin for 15 minutes.  Take a cloth napkin and rub flour and cornmeal into it.  Fold the dough (ok sort of knead it) once or twice until you have a nice round ball.  Place in half the napkin and cover it up with the other half.  Let is rise for 2 hours.  Heat up your oven to 450 with a cast iron or enamel pot that has a lid that fits tightly inside.  When it’s all good and hot flip your dough over so the seam is face down into the hot pot.  I have been adding a sprig of rosemary on the top.  COver and place in your oven for 30 minutes.  Take the lid off and cook until nicely browned about 10 more minutes.  Let cool almost completely, slice and devour.


I had a couple of cuties who entertained themselves watching cars go by this afternoon.  They pulled the chairs up to the front window, hopped in and had a good old time.  


And then ate some warm buttery bread.

bread #50 Food processor bread

I am sure I have mentioned it once or twice.  Possibly whined or complained a touch as well.  I have no food processor or mixer.  Oh, the horror?!  While a whole year (and thousands of years of perfectly edible bread making throughout history) behind me with no electronic devices at my whim, proves quite clearly they are in fact, not necessary, I can say with complete satisfaction they are lovely to have.

Peanut butter!  Almond butter!  Hummus!  Mustard!  Pesto!  All of these fantastically ground up and smoothed out products magically appeared out of my three stage bowl cuisinart heavy-duty food processor.  Have I mentioned how much I love my mom and dad?  Oh the gift giving season is among us and I am quite the grateful daughter.  Thank you!

After the traditional pastes were jarred, labeled, and stored I decided to flip the through the pages of my cuisinart cookbook that came along with the machine.  To my surprise there were many recipes for unlikely items that would come from this oscillating blade, bread being the one that (obviously) caught my eye!

While it wasn’t my favorite loaf, it was convenient and the mess was non existent!  Quite the change from my normal course of bread baking.

Here you have it:

Dissolve 2 1/4 tsp of yeast in 1/3 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of sugar

With the dough blade in the large bowl add 2 cups of white and two cups of wheat flour, 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 tsp of salt.  Mix for about 15 seconds.  Pour in 1 cup of cold water slowly until it forms a ball, about 45 seconds.  This is unbelievable to me.  45 seconds is equivalent to like 15 minutes of kneading by hand?  I think not.  Perhaps this why the bread was under par.  Edible,  sandwich-able, but under par none the less.

Let rise in an oiled bowl for about 1.5 hours, until doubled.  Butter two 9 by 5 loaf pans.  Punch down your dough and let rest for about 10 minutes.  Divide into two loaves, shape and plop them in.  Let them rise for another hour until the dough reaches the tops of the pans.  Preheat the oven to 400 bake for 30 minutes and let cool.


And because I took no picture of the loaves… I decided to include this one for the cuteness factor of it.  Brotherly love.  Oh thank-you-thank-you for showing me there IS in fact a good reason to have two so close in age.