Remember, back a few months ago, when I made that lovely list of recipes I wanted to try? Well, I promise that I haven’t forgotten. That is not quite true, actually. I have forgotten – over, and over, forgotten to take pictures! This Sriracha Popcorn was gone before I had a chance to snap a photo. And this Apple Butter made a perfect hostess gift.
But with Saint Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I was not going to miss the opportunity to show you this hearty oat soda bread. I did have to bar Jeff from entering the kitchen and slap back my own hand as my itchy fingers attempted to tear off just a bite of crust. In the end, though, my camera prevailed.
I made a handful of changes to this original recipe from 101 Cookbooks, making a lovely crusty bread deeper and darker. This is not a wimpy bread. It is simple, but it is intense, flavorful, and dense. If you like your bread fluffy and light, this may not be the loaf for you. But if you like homemade bread that bakes up in under an hour, well, you can’t go wrong here. I adore soda bread because it is beyond easy to prepare. No kneading, no waiting, no fussing. And it still makes the house smell like fresh bread.
This bread is all crust. Well, not all crust, but enough to satisfy both me and Jeff. We’re the kind of people who fight over the end of a baguette. The seeds here make for a crunchy crust and the free-form round shape of this loaf leaves more of the bread exposed, allowing for the maximum exterior to interior ratio. I like this bread slathered with a good bit of cream cheese. A generous amount of salted butter is fantastic too – or you could be extra decadent and go for both butter and cream cheese, as Jeff does. And while we’re talking about decadence… this bread is wonderful toasted and topped with nutella. All thoughts of gooey chocolatey nutella aside, the bread itself is actually quite healthy. And if you wanted to keep it that way, you could go for a lovely sandwich with some roasted turkey and fresh avocado.
But I actually think this bread goes best with a big bowl of rich and meaty stew. The hearty crumb soaks up all the juices and holds up extremely well to dunking. Next weekend I’ll be making a big batch of Irish lamb stew and another loaf of this oat soda bread and toasting with a pint of Guinness!
Oat Soda Bread
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Makes 1 loaf
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups fat-free buttermilk (or 1 3/4 cups milk and 2 tablespoons vinegar) plus extra for brushing
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the oats until they form a coarse flour. Stir together the oat flour, whole wheat flour, and all-purpose flour in a large bowl. Stir in the baking soda and salt. Stir the buttermilk into the flour mixture (if using milk and vinegar, stir the vinegar into the milk and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before stirring into the dough). The mixture should be somewhat sticky, but do your best to gather it into a ball. Turn the dough out on a floured baking sheet and press into a thick round disk. Score the top of the loaf with an X. Brush the dough with a few tablespoons of buttermilk and sprinkle with the seeds. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Move the bread to the top rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes more to crisp the crust. Wonderful warm with plenty of good quality butter!