Oatmeal Breakfast Bread
My roommates and I each had our own, using them as recipe card catalogs and swapping notes as we went. I ended up making Tastebooks for my mother, brother, and lots of other people before rebelling against the restrictive (though very user friendly) format and starting my own cookbook, a messy endeavor wrought with spelling mistakes, frustration and freedom.
The maximum number of recipes in a Tastebook is capped at 100 so most of our recipes (which number 256) – from butterhorns to cumin biscuits – didn’t make it into my printed version. And lots of those didn’t make it into Cibo out of a combination of my forgetfulness and laziness. Most, (butternut squash macaroni & cheese; crap bars; rice-otto) I’ve forgotten about.
But there are a few recipes that I turn back to Tastebook for, and this here is one of them.
This may be my absolute favorite loaf for breakfast or brunch (or midnight snack, seeing as I ate about half a loaf as it cooled last night). It’s ridiculously versatile – just cook and throw in whatever fruit you want – and ridiculously tasty. I have no idea where the original recipe came from, but it probably involved inspiration in the form of a few rotting pears and an open bag of quick oats.
It’s moist and hearty but, at the same time, light (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself). Filled with oats and fruit, you can’t help but feel virtuous for making it your breakfast. Even after three or four slices. I used to use pears and throw in lots of dried fruit, from chopped apricots to sultanas, but yesterday I used apples and plopped in leftover strawberry rhubarb compote. Despite my changes, it’s still the same old perfect oatmeal breakfast bread. Begging me to have another slice. And then straighten out the uneven cutting job from the second slice by cutting off a bit more. Then maybe just grabbing that crusty bit on the side. Oops, now I have to cut another slice to make it even again…
OATMEAL BREAKFAST BREADI cannot recommend this loaf enough. If you don’t have bran, throw it a handful of whatever – from rolled oats to wheat germ. The point is to add something to soak up the liquid from the cooked fruit. If you’re feeling especially gluttonous, add some dark chocolate chunks and dried cherries. But if you know you won’t be able to have just one or two slices, it might be better to stick to apples and raisins. Makes 1 large and 1 small loaf OR around 15 muffins OR 2 medium sized loaves OR one cake
2 – 3 pears (or apples), chopped finely
1 cup dried fruit (diced apricots, cranberries & raisins) (optional)
½ cup water
1¼ cup flour
1½ cup instant oats
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 handful wheat bran OR Irish oatmeal OR rolled oats
½ cup buttermilk (1/2 cup milk with 1 tsp lemon juice)
½ cup oil
OPTIONAL add-ins: 1/2 cup strawberry rhubarb compote OR fresh or frozen berries OR chocolate chunks OR nothing
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease whatever pans you are using.
In a small pot on the stove, bring the diced fresh fruit, dried fruit (if using) and water to a boil.
In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt) together. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (the eggs, buttermilk and oil), and pour them into the dry ingredients; mix gently to combine.
Remove the pear/fruit mixture from the stove and pour everything (water included) into the batter. Mix gently and allow to stand about 10-15 minutes. If it looks way too watery, throw in another handful of oats.
Pour batter into prepared pans. If you want to add more chopped fruit, berries, chocolate or compote, pour in just half the batter, then add your filling, then add the rest of the batter on top. Bake (about 20-25 minutes for muffins, 45 minutes for full-sized loaves) until an inserted knife comes out clean. Allow it to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes (otherwise it might break as you take it out!) and enjoy!