Tag: Oven

The quest for easy, fresh-baked bread…Mission accomplished? (Updated)


The other day, I tried this recipe from Natalie Oldfield’s Gran’s Kitchen cookbook (via 101 Cookbooks).

Why should you even click on the above link to the recipe?

  • No kneading
  • yeasty bread
  • Start to finish (including the time it takes for the bread to rise) in under 2 hours
  • Oatmeal, whole wheat, versatile wholesome-y, tweak-able goodness.

Do it.

I spritzed the loaf with olive oil and sprinkled whole wheat flakes on top before popping it into the oven. Nutty goodness ensued.

Mine was a little bit on the crumbly side after a few hours and a few slices, but I threw the remaining slices into the oven under the broiler (ever-so-quickly), and they made for great toast (with great peanut butter) the next morning.

Mostly, I like this recipe because I can time things so My Man comes home at about the same time I’m taking fresh bread out of the oven. Clever girl. (Yeah, that’s right…my house smells like fresh-baked bread. Hah!)

So, why does the title of this post end with a question mark?

I’ve got a bold tweak in the oven at the moment. I had some bread-machine mix (no bread machine, mind you) for 7 grain bread in the cupboard, so I used it in place of the flours/oats in the original recipe. But then I added salt. And yeast, like the recipe calls for. I suspect that was a bad move, since the mix had these things already. However, the mix had been opened, so I thought some of the yeast might be bust by now. To compensate (really, just because it’s what I do), I threw in a handful of whole wheat flakes and a handful of wheat germ.

I tasted the batter after scooping it into the loaf pan, and it was salty. I might be able to boot and rally, but I’m not sure.

So, we’ll see if I screwed the pooch on this one. It won’t be a reflection on the recipe if I did, so I still encourage you to try it.

The original bread has a whiff of sweetness to it (because of the oatmeal and the whisper of honey), but I think you could easily throw in dried herbs, or conversely add some cinnamon or nutmeg to sex it up according to your needs.

I’m off to check on the bread…and then to contemplate why bending, squatting, putting on and taking off shoes, etc. got so difficult all of a sudden. A couple of weeks ago, my little dude still gave me room. Now he’s hogging up my uterus. Naughty muppet. I’m grounding him until birth.

Post Script

Holy crap, I can’t believe I got away with that bread.

I expected a hard (or alien-like poofiness of a blob) brick of salty nastiness.

As it turned out, I have a slightly salty, very whole grain, high fiber, hearty  yet moist and soft (on the inside) bread.

Awesome.

My standards are pretty flex when it comes to eating my own food… but here’s the thing: my Portuguese man likes the bread.

Success, friends, by the skin of my teeth.

And now I’m more confident about baking.

Boa.

Spin-offs are the greatest…(Aka, hack of Baked Eggs via 101 Cookbooks)


I’ve been under the weather off-and-on for a couple weeks now (weather change, rain, hormones), and today’s surprise gift of sun in Mafrica came with a hovering sinus headache.

Whatev. More relevant to my general situation is that my man works nearby, and though the puppy and I are on our own for several hours a day, I get to feel like a contributing member of our young household for a solid two meals every day.

It’s not much, but I’m relatively new here, and I’m making the best of it.

The other week, I re-introduced to our kitchen an old faithful from Heidi Swanson’s fantastic online journal, 101 Cookbooks. Not only is she just lovely, the site is full of healthy, hearty, beautifully-varied recipes and stories, along with the requisite envy-inspiring photography.

So, on that day (the other week), my lunch menu came from Heidi’s Baked Eggs recipe.

And now, a note about my kitchen.

We live in a relatively old building. The outside is dismal and looks as though it has barnacles growing on the wall. (Yes, I know they are really lichens and such, but the idea of barnacles on my building amuses me. Incidentally, barnacles are considered a delicacy here.)

The inside of our apartment is actually pretty cute. There’s enough retro flare to maintain a theme. The kitchen is bigger than most small apartment kitchens. The refrigerator is tiny (european, of course) as is the freezer. The stove is gas, and I have no way of determining the temperature of the oven.

I like it that way. It absolves me of responsibility if the food doesn’t turn out.

Relevance? All recipes involving an oven, I wing. I peek and test and tinker. Thus I have no useful commentary to add about the baking times of recipes I cite here. I thought you should know.

Now, back to the eggs 🙂

The night before, we had had spicy bean burritos, and I had two tortillas and some spicy black beans left over. I also had a jar of salsa open. And, you know, some eggs.

I microwaved the tortillas just enough to soften them, tucked them down into a couple of ramekins (Continente, 50 cents each), spooned some black bean mixture in the bottom of the tortilla cup, and cracked a couple of eggs into each dish.

While those were baking (see Heidi’s recipe…I’m not responsible for those details), I made some sweet potato wedges in the oven (a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary).

If you have the right baking and serving dishes, it’s easy to make home-made (but slacker) food look wholesome and rustic. A nice, simple salad with baby spinach and roma tomatoes, or another attractive combination always helps.

Anyway, lunch was a success. A glass of red wine, and all was done.

Bringing it on home…

So, today, I feel a bit like poo. My man had meat (some burgers) he was going to cook for his lunch, so I threw some olive-oil coated frozen potato balls in the oven, and I prepped an omelet for myself.

Then I saw my happy little ramekin. And the crumbly, broken bits of the end of some very tasty, seeded bread we’d enjoyed this week.

Baking paper was soon cut into a square to line the ramekin. The bread was soon squished by hand to line said ramekin. The omelet mix awaiting the frying pan took a detour, into the ramekin and into the oven.

Yum. Cute. Pretty. Healthy-ish. And easy. Very, very easy.

I’ll figure out dinner in a couple of hours. 🙂