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An All-American 4th of July: New England Oat Bread

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I think my favorite holiday may be the 4th of July. It gives me a chance to not only run around grilling to my hearts content without people thinking I am a mad man playing with fire and knives, but it gives me a chance to delve into what is considered to be true-blue (or true red/white and blue) American cooking. It's fun and that really is what cooking should be all about.

In this series called An All-American 4th of July, we will have some fun with some true American cooking. It will be tasty! It will be easy and it will give you a chance to celebrate the birth of the greatest nation on the face of this earth while filling your stomach with delicious morsels of Americana!

Breads are one of the oldest prepared foods known to man. Ever since grains began to be harvested, breads have been made. Some of the oldest bread recipes come from the Middle East. Some of the most famous breads come from Europe. With America being a young country, there are not really any native breads but there are many breads associated with American cuisine and one of them is this New England Oat Bread.

The dough to make New England Oat Bread is a little different than most dough. It is not as dense and more liquidy. When it comes to kneading this dough, it can get rather messy. If you want to forgo the mess, you can simply stir the dough with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Do not, however, use a mixer for this process or the texture of the bread will be ruined.

Ingredients needed to make New England Oat Bread (makes 2 loaves):

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 2 ½ tsp. yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl pour the boiling water over the oats and stir in the butter. Set the bowl aside for the oats to cool.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the yeast, warm water and honey. Set the bowl aside 5 minutes for the yeast to proof (foam).
  3. Stir the proofed yeast into the oats. Stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup flour. Cover the bowl and let rise 1 hour.
  4. Stir the dough and then add the remaining flour until well combined.
  5. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead 7 minutes. Place back into the bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour.
  6. Remove the dough to a floured surface and divide in half. Form each dough into a loaf.
  7. Line the bottom of two 9x5 bread pans with parchment paper and place a loaf in each one and let rise 1 hour.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  9. Place in oven and bake 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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