By Sari Huhtala
My mother has been making this bread for about 70 years, so, like many of her age-old recipes, getting it out of her head and onto a piece of paper is always an interesting endeavour, that usually starts with her asking “How am I supposed to know how much flour I put in there?”
I love the simplicity of this recipe, and much to my mother’s surprise, during her last visit I somehow managed to make it even easier by not even having to get my hands dirty rolling and shaping the dough.
Instead, I poured it directly onto a cookie sheet, let it rise, and baked it as one large square. She was surprised.
I’ve also given it a healthier twist by using spelt flour instead of whole wheat or white flour. To make it gluten free, simply use a gluten-free flour blend.
It received a huge thumbs up from my four-year-old grandson, and the rest of the family members, so, I think this recipe’s a keeper.
- 1 cup large or small flake oats
- 2 – 2 ¼ cups water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups spelt flour
- 1 tbsp dry yeast dissolved in ½ cup of warm water
Cook oats in 2 cups of water until cooked (about 10 minutes if you using large flake oats), adding up to ¼ cup more water when cooking, if necessary. Add the salt while it is cooking. The final cooked oats should be lumpy, not runny and smooth. Cool oats. You can cook with slightly warm oats or leftover cold oats, but avoid using hot oats, as it could kill the yeast.
Place cooled oats into a medium size bowl. Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of warm water for about 5 minutes. Pour the yeast/water mixture into the oats, as well as one tbsp olive oil and mix well. Add the spelt flour one a cup at a time, stirring the dough in between. Mix well, then pour the dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using a spoon with a touch of olive oil to prevent the spoon from sticking onto the dough, spread the dough out to about a ½ inch thickness – the bread will be about eight inches by eight inches in size. Cover the pan with a clean cloth. It’s a good idea to lightly place parchment paper over the bread, then lay the cloth over the bread. Set aside in a warm spot to rise for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 60-70 minutes, until top is lightly golden and it sounds hollow when tapped.
Option: As an alternative, you can also make small oatmeal bread rounds with the dough. Before setting the dough to rise, with floured hands pull off a fist-sized piece of dough and pat it down on a floured board to create a ½-inch thick round. Place on a parchment-paper covered cookie sheet. Repeat, leaving at least two inches in between rounds to allow space for the dough to rise. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30-40 minutes.