“Since hunger is the most primitive and permanent of human wants, men always want to eat, but since their wish not to be a mere animal is also profound, they have always attended with special care to the manners which conceal the fact that at the table we are animals feeding.” - John Erskine

26 December 2011

oat bread with ham & cheese soup

Yep, I made bread again.  Finally!  And what bread.  Mmm!  So soft, so flavorful, so yum!  If you haven’t made bread yet, this may be the recipe to start with.  I’m not sure you can go wrong with it.  Really, really a must try!

Tess’s Oat Bread Recipe
3 cups rolled oats
2½ cups water or milk no hotter than 110°
½ cup honey
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons yeast

Allow oats to absorb the water and the yeast to get hyper active.  This usually takes about 30 minutes.  On the plus side, this softens the oats without cooking the starch.  The main difference between using cooked oats and uncooked oats.  Starch will still cook, but not be gummy.  Tender loaf.  Oats...soft...good.

3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 tablespoon salt

You may need more or less flour depending on the storing conditions of the flour.  I usually opt for less flour whenever possible.  I knead by hand in the bowl and avoid using too much flour.  300 turns if you can do.  You can use a mixer.  3-4 minutes medium speed.

Form into a ball and allow to raise until doubled.  If I am busy I will put the bread in a covered bowl in the fridge at this point and let it raise there.  That gives me a couple more hours to get running around done.

So.  Allow the dough to raise then use the loaf molding technique (found here).  In the case of this bread I have found steaming the loaf in a covered clay crock to be by far, my favorite application.  Lightly oiled and then free standing large double loaf using all the dough.

Allow bread to raise until twice its size and very fluffy.  Bake in oven pre-heated to 425° 40-45 minutes (or until internal temperature reaches 170°).  Allow bread to cool before slicing.

This bread you will find to be very moist and have a shelf life of 3-4 days if it lasts that long.

I don't have a clay crock, and wanted standard loaves for sandwich making, so after the first (and second ~ I forget about my bread dough a lot) rise, I divided the dough in two and put it in bread pans.  As usual for me, I left the bread rising a little too long in the pans, so it took on a weird shape.  I went to another bread recipe to figure out baking for pans, and ended up baking it at 425° (because I live in Utah) for 20 minutes, then 350° for 15 minutes.  It looked a little weird from over-rising, but tasted amazing.  Especially when dipped into soup.  Mmm, soup. 
And speaking of soup, this was a weird experiment in cooking gone right.  That doesn’t always happen to me, and I’m hoping I can remember everything I did so that I can do it again.  So yummy!  Here’s where it started:

Cordon Bleu Potato Soup
serves 4
2 cans (10¾ ounces each) condensed cream of potato soup
1 can (14½ ounces) chicken broth
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup diced fully cooked ham
1 cup milk
1 can (5 ounces) chunk white chicken, drained
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

In a 2-quart microwave-safe dish, combine all ingredients.  Cover and microwave on high for 5-8 minutes or until heated through, stirring twice.

We love cordon bleu and I thought this would be a great soup to try.  But when I went to make it I realized that I didn’t have any cream of potato soup.  (I thought the recipe called for actual potatoes.  Go figure.)  Ok.  Cream of mushroom will work so I grabbed a couple of cans of that.  I got out the canned chicken and just didn’t feel much like chicken.  Hmm.  So I just started throwing things in a pot, and here’s what I came up with.

M’s Ham & Cheese Soup
serves 8 (or a family of 4 animals + mom)
4 cans (10¾ ounces each) cream of mushroom soup
2 cans (14½ ounces each) chicken broth
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese
1-2 packages (8 ounces each) diced ham
(You can use cubed, but we usually have diced on hand for pizza.  I buy it at Wal-Mart in the “deli” packaged meat section ~ you can’t get it from the actual deli.)
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons mustard (I used regular yellow)
½ teaspoon dill weed
½ teaspoon celery seed
salt to taste (I, of course, used season salt)

Add soup to a medium-sized pot over medium heat.  Pour in chicken broth a little at a time, stirring well or whisking to prevent lumps.  Add all other ingredients and heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.  Serve with dippy bread.

I’m not exactly sure of the amounts of everything I used ~ it was mostly just dump or sprinkle or squirt and taste ~ but I gave it my best guess.  As I was mixing away I decided I wanted it to taste as much like a ham & cheese sandwich as I could, which explains the dill, celery, mustard, and the most important ingredient, dippy oat bread.  It tasted so good, and everyone love it.  Well, everyone except Middlest and Littlest, who refused to taste it and only ate the bread.  I think they’re getting tired of soup...


  1. You're a blogging queen today! Woot woot! I think I need to break in my mixer and try some of that oat bread! You're making me hungry! :-)

  2. Try it! Try it now! It is so yummy, and pretty much fail-proof. Do you need some wheat?

  3. I've got plenty of wheat, I need to get me a good grinder though. That's next on my wish list.

  4. Come on over and I'll grind it up for ya. <3