When I was a kid growing up in Montreal, my sister and I were selected to attend a special school. It was a program begun to introduce music to children all over Montreal. 6 year olds (grade 1) in public schools had a special “ear” test to measure their musical acuity and natural talent. My friend and I were the only ones from our school to get accepted. My sister did, too, 4 years later. At Le Plateau Elementary School, I began my love affair with music, learning everything from choir singing to violin, piano, orchestra playing, to stage performance… Music took over more hours in the day then the academic part (which we also had to keep up with). We were only children, but hard work, the importance of practicing and self-discipline were all instilled in us. In many ways, we didn’t have the same carefree childhood most children enjoy, but I LOVED IT! Music was EVERYTHING to me! Music was like oxygen. I couldn’t live without it.
Since this wasn’t a regular neighboorhood school, we had to take the school bus every morning. Our bus stop was in front of a little old bakery. I still remember the look of it – so unassuming – nothing spent on the decor. Everything was white washed: not because it was all painted white, but rather because everything had been whitened by the constant flow of flour being dusted, measured, kneaded… The bakery was just around the corner from my grandparents’ house. My grandfather got up every morning at 7am to get fresh bread and my grandmother would make these thick homemade toasts in the oven for breakfast : mine would always be spread with a thick layer of Extra Smooth Peanut Butter (Mmmm! my favourite). The smell of freshly brewed coffee, slightly burned toast and peanut butter still touch my heart – bringing me straight back to my childhood mornings spent with my grandfather’s pop math, history and geography quizzes and my grandmother’s sweet voice talking to me, her fingertips stroking the back of neck.
Following breakfast, I would suit up like a future astronaut (Canadian winters are cold. Brrrr!). My grandfather would walk me to my bus stop and I would stand in front of the door until the bus arrived. I stood in front of the door because it was always warmer and sheltered from the wind. But it also smelled soooo good! And inevitably, it created an olfactory memory that has stuck all these years. Fresh bread always brings me back to those wonderful days filled with love, opportunity, dreams and music.
Is there anything better than the smell of freshly baked bread?
Not for me!
This saturday I am doing a free cooking workshop at the Taste of America shop on Calle Serrano and the theme is Oatmeal.
Did you know January is National Oatmeal Month in the USA?
How was this recipe created? Truth be told, I find Pinterest is a great resource for recipes (pin me, if you like what you see, please). This recipe started out as Miracle bread and from I can gather, it was a recipe originally created by www.pantrysecret.com. I took the original recipe and made some changes to it to convert it into an Oatmeal bread that could be enjoyed for breakfast with your favourite jam.
So here it is. I must warn you, this makes for a heavy bread… but I think that’s really part of its appeal. I recommend slicing it thickly, toasting it in the oven, and spreading some butter or jam on it. I dedicate it to my grand father who I enjoy debating with, and my grandmother who is the best confident any grandchild could ever have.
- 3 cups White bread flour
- 3 cups Whole Wheat flour
- 3 cups Oatmeal (I used Quaker Oats)
- 3 tablespoons Active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon of Salt
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 3 1/4 cups Hot tap water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- Sift and mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add in oil and hot tap water.
- Mix until well blended (if you have a KitchenAid with a dough hook, or similar, this is what I would recommend using to contain the mess).
- The mixture should be quite sticky. If it’s too dry, you can add a little more water.
- Grease 2 bread pans with Cooking spray.
- Divide the dough in 2 equal batches and shape in bread pans.
- Cover with a dishtowel, leave in a warm place (I leave mine on the table near the heater) and let rise until twice the size (approx. 30 mins).
- Preheat oven to 350F or 170C.
- Bake for 45 mins or until tapping it sounds hollow.
- Enjoy with butter, jam or other preferred spread.
This Recipe is good to make 2 loaves of bread, totalling 16 servings. Nutritional info is based on nutritional value per serving.