Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nights of Wine and Roses (and healthy bread)

Last night it was raining again, and neither of us really felt like a big meal. I was craving bread, which we've been trying to avoid lately, so I gave in and threw together a wholegrain maple-oat quickbread.

I love our porch. It has a clear roof on it, so we can sit on our porch and stay dry while we watch the rain. Our porch is screened from the street by a dense thicket of red roses, so when we sit out there in the evening, it's like being wrapped up in roses and rain, with the fresh floral scent and heavy music from the roof all around us.

There's also a table and some chairs out there, so we had our supper on the porch last night. We had the wholegrain bread with sliced radishes, pickled garlic, asiago cheese, and smoked bleu cheese. And of course, a nice little shiraz. The bread was still hot from the oven and really brought out the flavors in the cheeses... it was a good meal to linger over.

This bread is super-easy to make yourself (I adapted it from this recipe). It's a good base, so add whatever you want to it. You could add dried fruit and nuts, or seeds, or wheat berries, anything. I'm going to try it with gluten-free flour soon and see how it works as a gluten-free bread. It seems pretty flexible!


1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup flaxmeal
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 scant cup milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or cover it with parchment paper.

Chuck all the dry ingredients into a bowl, just as is. Whisk it together with a fork. Pour the milk into a measuring cup, add in the olive oil and maple syrup, and whisk them together too. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix it up with that fork until evenly blended, and spoon it all out onto the cookie sheet in a big rounded pile. Pat it into a round, even loaf with your hands and stick it in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

This is by far the easiest bread I have ever made, and it's delicious. You can use honey instead of maple syrup, soy/rice milk instead of cow's, a nut flour instead of the flaxmeal (but the flaxmeal is so good for you!), add those seeds, nuts, fruit, etc... go crazy with it.

Just make sure you enjoy it on the porch. It goes best with a rainy evening.

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