No matter where you sit down to dinner North of 49, there are classic Canadian foods that make us all feel at home. That cozy, warm feeling of freshly baked bread takes all of us back to snowy days of childhood. A house full of the scent of baked goods just coming out of the oven while we lingered in our flannel pjs snuggled under the covers. Overly sentimental? Not if the bread you remember is the Maritime favorite Down East Oatmeal Bread. This traditional bread that hails from the blustery Atlantic coast is just a touch sweet and the perfectly satisfying wing man to a hearty stew or chowder. It also makes jaw-dropping French toast and toad in the hole.
We first discovered it while keeping up with West Coast chef Eric Akis, who can often be found celebrating and chowing down on Canada’s harvest. But, this recipe originally comes from what is now one of our very favorite Canadian cookbooks – Canada’s Favorite Recipes by Elizabeth Baird and Rose Murray.
We’ve modified our version to work with different flours and it quickly topped the charts in our homes as one of the most requested baked goods. Pure awesome.
DOWN EAST OATMEAL BREAD
Makes two loaves and is a great recipe for anyone wanting to make amazing homemade bread.
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats (not instant)
- 1 1/4 cups boiling water
- 1/3 cup butter, cubed
- 2 Tbsp fancy molasses
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (we use light stoneground spelt. It works great)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (approx.)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1. In a bowl or large measuring cup, stir 1 tsp of the sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over top; stir and let stand until foamy about 10 minutes. Stir again.
2. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup rolled oats and boiling water. Add the rest of the sugar and the butter, molasses and salt; stir gently until smooth and the butter has melted. Let cool to warm room temperature and then whisk in eggs followed by the yeast mixture.
3. Beat in the whole-wheat flour and half the all-purpose flour. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Place it on a floured counter or board and begin kneading (or you can do it with a dough hook in your standing mixer, so easy). Knead for about 10 minutes by hand, 5 in the mixer.
4. Oil a large bowl, place the dough ball in it and roll it around to grease it all over. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for about an hour.
5. Grease two loaf pans. When your dough is done rising, flatten it and divide in half. On a floured surface, gently pull the dough into 11×8-inch rectangles. Starting at one narrow end, roll the dough up into a cylinder; pinch the ends and along the bottom to seal. Fit into the prepared pans. Cover the loaves and let rise in a warm spot for another 45 minutes.
6. When time is up, beat the 1 egg. Brush over the loaves; sprinkle the loaves with the 1/4 cup rolled oats (we often skip the oat topping because the kids make a giant mess with it) . Bake in the center of a preheated 375 F oven until the loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped on the bottom, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pans and let cool on racks.
Enjoy this tasty Canadian goodness!