Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.
Adversity gives us perspective; despair informs our joy. Without suffering, we would never know what it means to be truly happy. Human nature is to avoid pain, which is a general approach I would advocate for, too, but sometimes the greatest victories rise from the ashes, like the phoenix reborn.
Much has been said about the devastation wreaked by the impossible winter storm here in Texas. It’s not what I imagined for my first winter in the deep south, that’s for sure. The experience has left a mark, visibly inside flooded and now moldy apartments across the state, and mentally, still haunting nightmares and wakeful moments alike. To be honest, I’m not quite over it yet, and I was one of the lucky ones. I lost power for three days, while temperatures plummeted into the single digits, and water for six. Melting snow in the fireplace to have water to drink and dredging out the pool to flush the toilet weren’t exactly the survival skills I was taught as a girl scout. I would have likely frozen to death if not for the endlessly kind friends within my orbit. From a swashbuckling rescue across the ice-slicked tundra, gliding through the black of night under dark traffic lights, to the seemingly small offer of a warm shower, I owe these people so much.
Which is why I made them all bread.
For the first loaf, it was a matter of what I could piecemeal from a kitchen that wasn’t mine, that could be reasonably fabricated without fancy equipment. Homemade bread, soft and tender, aromatic and still warm from the oven, is a simple pleasure that everyone can appreciate. It transcends the question of sweet or savory, avoids the pitfalls of expensive ingredients, yet tastes like love itself in every bite. Thick-cut, chewy rolled oats give body to this simple sandwich bread, adding just enough interest to make it a treat without further embellishment. That said, it’s at the peak of perfection when toasted and smeared with a fat knob of vegan butter.
The loaf was further refined with a second run, rising to even loftier heights with more patience and experience. Again, the company and context added a certain seasoning that mass-produced baked goods could never have. Bread is a living thing, you know; it’s like a pet that you must nurture and train with equal parts kindness and respect.
Only when I finally returned to my own kitchen did I finally master the art. For something that started as a throwaway formula, not even written down, it became a highly sought-after prize, with inquiries about the recipe coming in left and right. So, in case you were one of the lovely people following my harrowing journey on Instagram or Facebook, thank you. This last loaf is for you.
- 1 - 1 1/4 Cups Warm Water
- 3 Tablespoons Turbinado or Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
- 3/4 Cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
- 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 3 Tablespoons Neutral Vegetable Oil (Such as Peanut, Avocado, Grapeseed, or Rice Bran)
- Combine 1 cup of the water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl, stirring well. Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes until the yeast has reactivated and the mixture is lightly frothy.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, and salt. Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, followed by the oil. Stir vigorously with a sturdy spatula to incorporate. If it seems too dry, add in a little bit more water, one tablespoon at a time. When it becomes too stiff to continue stirring, turn the shaggy dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand for 10 - 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until approximately doubled in size.
- Lightly grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Punch down the dough and knead once more until smooth. Shape into a cylinder roughly the length of the loaf pan and place it inside. Cover with a towel and let rise once more, until peeking just above the edge of the pan; 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees as it nears full completion. Slash the top straight down the middle with a very long knife, about 1/2-inch deep. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until golden brown all over. Let cool completely before slicing and enjoying.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 153mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.