The Eastern, or Atlantic provinces of Canada were settled by Scots and Irish looking for a brighter future. They brought many of their customs and traditions from food to music – indeed there are still some gallic speaking communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This bread most certainly has celtic origins. If the oats and raisins do not convince you, the porridge oats will. It is a delicious bread, developed in the day when oats were cheap and plentiful and wheat was scarce and dear. Wheat was needed to make bread that rose and oats were needed as a cheap filler – to make your wheat go farther.
Like most “poor people’s food” this is delicious and nutritious: simple, hearty, satisfying…a real “stick to your ribs” bread; perfect for a long day at sea.
1 big mug of porridge oats, as unrefined as you can get them (Rude Health provide excellent oats)
1 big mug of boiling water
1 tablespoon of lard (or butter or coconut oil)
1 big tablespoon of molasses (or honey)
1 teaspoon of salt
300 g whole meal flour
200 g water
1.5 g instant/3 g dry/6 g fresh yeast
oats for dusting
The night before you want to bake (or several hours before) measure the oats into a bowl and pour over the boiling water.
Stir in the lard, salt, and molasses.
Cover and let cool completely or it will kill the yeast.
Once the oats are completely cool, measure the flour into a bowl.
If using instant or fresh yeast sprinkle it in. Add all of the rest of the ingredients, including the soaked oats and knead well for 10 minutes. It will be very sticky and that is ok. You are adding mush to your dough so you have got to expect sticky!
If using dry yeast, pop it in a little bowl and pour 100 ml of warm water over it. Cover and let sit for 10-15 minutes until it froths up and then add it to the flour. Add everything else and knead well for 10 minutes. It will be very sticky and that is ok. You are adding mush to your dough so you have got to expect sticky!
Pop it back in the bowl and then cover it and let it rest for 1-2 hours until it has at least doubled in size. Grease a big bread tin – you want to fill it about 2/3 full. .Then pull the dough out onto a well floured surface (remember – it’s sticky) and flour your hands. Shape it into a sausage and pop it in the tin. Cover it and let it rise for 1 hour. Just before you put it in the oven, spray it with a plant sprayer and sprinkle oats on the top. Spray again to stick them down.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and pop the dough in. Bake for 45 minutes. This dough will not sound particularly hollow when you tap it because of all the oats.
Let it cool completely and then eat with butter and (if you are feeling particularly sinful) brown sugar. Or just jam or cheese if you like cheese and raisins together. It keeps for ages and is excellent toasted.