Aka: "Norwegian Mountain Bread"
Since the new year was started off with a bang (meaning, gooood muffins were revealed to you before I even crawled out of my big, down comforter on New Years Day morning), I'm going to do my best to keep the momentum going and post a little more regularly. At least for the next few baby-free weeks, that is. After that, I make no promises. None, that is, that don't deal with loads and loads of diaper washing, new expressions photo-taking, and picking my mom up from the airport for her very first "Grandma from America" visit.
In the past, this site was very much devoted to fresh, baked bread. It was sort of like I was in denial of how many of you actually bother to take the time (or maybe it's more a question of having the time???) to bake your own yeasted bread. I know you live in cities with excellent bakeries and sometimes you'd rather go sledding on a Saturday afternoon or drink a few beers than bake a loaf of bread. But here's the deal with today's recipe, in the words of Jamie Oliver, "it's dead simple".
Hear that? SIMPLE. Like the kind of simple that could find my husband baking this bread one day. And the kind of simple that makes you giggle a sinister little giggle when you share a slice with an unknowing, but very impressed mouth. You see, in the world of bread, simple and good don't normally go hand-in-hand. Which is why it was so fun to stumble upon this recipe from a cookbook I generally only use for things like brownies and birthday cake recipes.
Although Nigella Lawson calls this "Norwegian Mountain Bread", I'm going to take the liberty and re-name it "Lazy Man's Bread". Because that's what it is. There's no kneading, no rising, no shaping, no nothing involved. But it does rise in the oven because of the yeast! Have I mentioned that it's healthy too? Like so healthy that you could climb a Norwegian mountain after you've had a slice or two.
Me? I prefer just looking at a Norwegian mountain after I've had my share. That way, it lives up to both of its' given names.
This produces a moist, seedy, dense bread perfect for holding a few slices of cheese. If you've ever had Danish Rye Bread, this will remind you of that, only without the sourness. Although it rises a bit in the oven, don't expect a fluffy, soak-up-all-of-your-sauce kind of bread. It's better suited for the breakfast or lunch table or sliced thin and placed along cured meats and cheeses for an appetizer buffet.
Lazy Man's Bread
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson's, How To Be a Domestic Goddess
*Makes one-midsized loaf
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (250ml) milk or buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (250ml) water
2 cups (250g) whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup (50g) rye flour
2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4 oz./7 g) active dry yeast
1/4 cup (50g) rolled oats (not instant)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
8 Tablespoon blend of any of the following (preferably all of the following):
1. Mix the milk and water together in a measuring cup, and combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients, stirring all the while, to make a sticky mixture.
3. Butter your loaf pan well, scrape the dough into the pan, sprinkle a few extra seeds and oats over the surface of the bread, and place in a cold oven.
4. Turn on oven to 225F/100C and after 30 minutes, turn it up to 350F/175C for one hour.
5. When the loaf begins to get nice and brown, take it out of the oven, run a butter knife along the sides of your pan and carefully remove the bread. (*Nigella recommends poking the bread with a cake tester or fine skewer to make sure it's done, ie: the skewer will come out clean). You may wish to return the loaf to the oven for an extra 10-15 minutes. Resist the urge to cut off a slice right away, allowing the bread to cool thoroughly on a rack will prevent the insides from getting gummy.