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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


World's best bread

One of the problems with making homemade bread for one is that you can't really enjoy it fully when it is straight out of the oven. Well, at least I can't - I'm not sure why. For some reason, even though I might be super duper hungry when I start the bread, by the time it is done, I'm no longer very hungry and kind of have to force myself to eat the bread. Luckily, this bread is still good the day after (but not *as* good). It is seriously the world's best bread - it is slightly sweet and light, yet still hearty. You can make it in a bread machine - I would soften the oats and dissolve the yeast, and then add it all to the bread machine (you may need to halve the recipe). It's pretty much foolproof bread - so even if you aren't super experienced with making yeast breads I encourage you to try to make it by hand- it is pretty much guaranteed to work.

Sara's Oat Bread
From Sundays at Moosewood

Makes 2 loaves

2 cups boiling water
2 cups rolled oats
1 tablespoon butter, oil, or margarine
1 package dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 cups unbleached flour
1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt

In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over the oats and margarine, and stir until the butter has melted. Set aside to cool.

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Then add the dissolved yeast to oatmeal mixture. Add the brown sugar and one cup of flour. Beat 100 strokes. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set it aside to rise in a warm place until the mixture bubbles, about 45 minutes. This batter is called a "sponge."

Stir in the salt and the remaining 3 cups of flour and mix well. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until it is elastic. The dough is sticky, so be patient. Oil your hands if necessary and try not to add much extra flour.

Oil the bowl. Return the dough to the bowl with the damp cloth and set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough, turn it onto a lightly oiled board, and cut it in half. Form two loaves and place the in oiled one-pound loaf pans. Cover them and let rise again in a warm place until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the loaves have risen, bake them for about 40 minutes or until golden. Turn the loaves out of the pans - they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool them on wire racks.


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