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Solacement Oatmeal Bread

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Warm, soothing, soft, and fragrant oatmeal bread tops my list of comfort foods.  This recipe is exactly where I turn when life has served up sadness, loss, and heartache.  Even living in a Pacific island paradise like Hawaii doesn’t cushion me from bad days and while it’s hard to imagine, a person can actually lay in a hammock gently rocked by trade winds in the shade of palm trees and sob.  When absolutely nothing helps: bake this bread and find solace.
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When I make this version of oatmeal bread (I have several), I generally want results in a hurry. I don’t want to nurture a poolish, wait for proofing, or cover my counters in flour for kneading.  So grab your rapid rise yeast for this one, folks.

Solacement Oatmeal Bread

  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 6 cups white flour (bread flour is best but all-purpose is fine)
  • 3 tablespoons or two packets of instant yeast (a.k.a. Rapid Rise)
  • 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 2/3 cups sugar (may use honey or agave instead)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (olive oil is fine, but not EVOO)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • a handful or two of rolled oats for coating
  1. Place the oatmeal in a large sturdy mixing bowl and stir in the boiling water.
  2. After a few minutes, add the dry ingredients (including yeast) and stir.
  3. Stir in the oil and warm water.
  4. Mix until a dough forms.  The dough should be sticky and thick.
  5. Instead of kneading the dough, oil your hands, shape the dough, roll it in oats, and place it in two greased loaf pans.
  6. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until the tops make a hollow sounds when tapped.
  8. Allow to cool in the pans for a few minutes before removing the loaves.  Set the bread on cooling racks and do not try to cut it until the crust is room temperature or cool to the touch.

I hope your heart is gladdened by this bread and that you share it with your friends/family.  For the past nine years, this is the bread I have taken to my fellow Army spouses when their husbands have been hurt during deployments, to my neighbors when they have lost loved ones, and to my friends when they are going through tough times.

Close the curtain, still the light,
Gone the daytime, here the night,
Evening breezes gentle, calm,
Darkness gifts its soothing balm.
Those who grieve and those who weep
Surrender to a healing sleep;
Though your heart be crossed with pain
And all the Earth seems drenched in rain,
As your sadness, heavy, lies,
Upon your spirit, ‘neath the skies,
Know that all around you, still,
Though deep the river, high the hill,
Kindness and compassion flow,
As surely as the grasses grow.
As certain as the moon on high,
As true as evening birds that fly,
Tender mercies from above
Reach out to hold you with their love.
Tears will come but peace shall, too,
As turns the world into the new.

Elizabeth Massie

 

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