Lewis Carroll amazed me when I was a kid and truthfully, still does even now that I’m an adult. The reasons are a bit different though. When I was a child, I just loved reading about Alice, the little girl who had so many more adventures than I would ever have. By the same token, I was scared to death when I read it. It was one freaky world Alice visited and I was torn between wanting to go there myself and throwing the book across the room and hiding under the blankets for a week.
As an adult, I’m more fascinated by the mind that wrote Alice as well as his other works. People speculate that he was a drug addict and in the throes of addiction when he wrote Alice In Wonderland, but in reality, that’s not been proven. He took Laudanum, ostensibly for migraines, which is an opiate, but there’s no proof of addiction. Mind you, think of any time you’ve had to take a prescription pain killer and then imagine living in the 1800′s where drugs were far easier to obtain. Then imagine how you felt taking pain killers and intensify that by 50 because from all reports, Laudanum was some powerful hallucinogenic stuff. Makes the scene in Look Who’s Talking where the in utero Mikey is happily looking at his hand that is colorfully psychedelic because mom is rather wasted look tame :-p So if Mr. Carroll wrote any of his works while taking laudanum, it would explain the imagination. That or the guy either just had one hell of a good imagination or was seriously warped hehe.
Butttttt… the Walrus was right. A loaf of bread IS what we chiefly need. Or at least I did today. But I didn’t want to make just plain old bread. I mean really, I repeat what I’ve said before, do I EVER want to make anything according to the recipe? I am fairly sure I am genetically unable to follow a recipe. My husband jokes that I am great at improvising but give me a box of something processed like mac and cheese and I’ll ruin it. Sadly, he’s right
So the bread I made today was based on an oatmeal loaf I like. The original recipe was from Taste Of Home. It’s good as it but I wanted something with a little more flavor. So I took it, added some spices, some orange juice and zest and some crushed anise seed. I have to say, I’m rather proud of this one. It’s mildly sweet and the scent of it is amazing. You smell orange and anise and cinnamon and cloves. I plan on using the same dough, modified a bit more, to make sweet rolls. I’ll post it when I do of course But this is wonderful just as it is. I’ve only had it with butter so far but I’m looking forward to a late night slice spread with butter and orange marmalade. YUMMY! So give this a try. It’s fairly easy as yeast breads go and is a nice sturdy loaf.
Spiced Orange Oatmeal Loaves
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon crushed anise seed
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, wheat germ, orange zest, spices, salt and yeast. Stir to combine.
- Heat the water, juice and butter together to a temp between 120 degrees f and 130 degrees f. Do NOT let it get hotter or you’ll kill your yeast.
- Add the water mixture to the oats. Stir just until moistened.
- Add 3 cups of all purpose flour; beat until smooth.
- Stir in enough remaining flour (if you don’t have a stand mixer, which I don’t myself yet, you’ll need to use a wooden spoon because a hand mixer can’t handle a dough this dense. You’ll burn out your motor if you try.) to make a soft dough. You don’t want it as sticky as you would for a sweet roll dough but neither do you want it firm enough to use as the foundation for a new home
- Turn out onto a floured counter or board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Put into a greased bowl, making sure to grease the top of the loaf also. Let rise until double in bulk, about an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease 5 5 inch loaf pans well. You can also make this in 2 9 inch pans but I love the cute factor in small loaves hehe.
- When doubled, punch dough down. Divide into five fairly equal parts.
- Shape each part into a loaf shape and put into the prepared pans.
- Let rise until doubled again, about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until deep golden brown.
- Cool in pans for just a minute or two then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Or at least do that in theory, After smelling this from the dough stage on (yes, even the dough smells wonderful) you won’t be able to resist slicing into it when it’s still warm.
On a side note, poor wittle oysters in this video *sobs*