Sense of Home
I worked a forty hour week, then a full weekend, followed by a 12 hour Monday, a 10 hour Tuesday, and then finished off the week with eight hour days. In the middle of all that craziness I went to the nursing home to help my Grandmother with her lunch. I haven't mentioned it before, but my 96 year old Grandmother went into a nursing home this winter. She now cannot eat without help and the wonderful staff at the home help her when my mother or I are not able to come, but usually at noon my mother stops by to help her with lunch and I have taken my turn. I brought a simple sandwich made with this bread and ate my lunch while also helping her to eat hers. This woman who raised 6 children, countless chickens, grew a huge garden and canned it's produce, helped to run a farm, for years used a wringer washer and hung clothes on the line to freeze-dry in winter even though her hands grew so cold they were stiff and hurt, cooked three square meals for her large family and farm-hands, now needs someone else to help her with the very basic of needs. She feels useless, and wishes she could still be active, and yet, even when I am so busy and feel stressed and rushed I find that while I spend time with her I begin to feel myself relax and I always come away feeling very calm, she has more worth than she will ever know.
Maple-Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
~From the Sense of Home Kitchen, adapted from a February 2008 Bon Appetit recipe~
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (105 degrees F. to 115 degrees F.)
1 tablespoon yeast (or 1 packet)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (grade B)
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon salt
Combine warm water and yeast and let set for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Place egg, butter, maple syrup, maple extract, and yeast mixture into a heavy-duty mixer. Stir with paddle until combined. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Attach a dough hook onto the mixer and beat at a low speed while gradually adding dry ingredients, scraping down bowl occasionally. Beat until dough is smooth and pulls cleanly away from bowl, adding more flour by 1/4 cupfuls if dough is very sticky. Scrape dough from hook and turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough for 10 to 15 minutes. Place back into bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap and towel. Let rise in a warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
Butter a 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan. Butter sheet of plastic wrap. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Shape into 8x3-inch log. Place in prepared pan; cover loosely with prepared plastic, buttered side down. Let dough rise in a warm draft-free area until center is 1 1/2 inches higher than pan, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Gently pull plastic off dough. Place bread in oven; bake until deep golden, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread; turn out of pan. Cool completely on a rack.
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