Do you know who Seth McFarlane is? No? He is the guy who made Family Guy, which I think is like the poor man's Simpson's. I don't watch any of that, because animation is for babies. Except Pixar. Pixar is for adults I think. (And I'm just kidding about being for babies, animation. Animation can be for anyone. But I still don't watch Family Guy. I tried once and it wasn't for me, just like oatmeal is not for me, but I'll get to that).
Anyways, the other day I saw an advertisement for a new album, well, not really an album - more like the idea of an album, because it's all just MP3s now, right? I mean, they keep making square pictures as if they are the covers of compact disks, but that's just so iTunes has something for you to look at. Well, whatever it is, a collection of digital files, I guess, it was from Seth McFarlane. But I wasn't sure if it really was, because it could have also maybe been a joke. Sometimes it's hard to know the difference between real life and making fun of life anymore, because a lot of times real life is so bananas you hope it's a joke and you are very surprised to find out it is not a joke. (There is a name for that, actually).
So this was a collection of songs sung by Seth McFarlane in the style of Frank Sinatra, complete with a retro-looking "album cover." It has silly song names like they used to have back in the day, like, "You're the Cream in My Coffee" and "Two Sleepy People." See how I thought, "Hmmm. Joke?"
Now, fine, maybe Seth McFarlane is very good at being our generation's Frank Sinatra (did Michael Bubbly retire?), I don't know, I haven't listened to the songs. But I'm sure what happened is one day he was singing in the shower and the CEO of Music To My Ears Records was staying the weekend as a house guest and the CEO heard Mr. McFarlane and was like, "You sound great. You should make a record." And, because it was the CEO of Music to My Ears Records, they did. Which is also what happened to that actor fellow from that show with the cranky doctor, because I think he has a record coming out this week too. Would any other actors like to make music? Just line up in front of the recording studio. "Oh, you draw a television show? Here is a microphone."
Just like how the manager of Coldplay was probably eating dinner at Gwyneth Paltrow's house and was like, "This English tofu salad is delicious. You should write a cookbook." And of course the manager is a friend of the husband of the editor of Knopf, so they made a cookbook. Now, again, I don't know, maybe Gwyneth Paltrow reinvents the Caesar salad. But at some point it's like, "STOP LETTING CELEBRITIES DO EVERYTHING!" I'm sure Tim Allen is very good at fly fishing and Queen Latifah can arrange flowers very nicely and Tilda Swinton can pour concrete, but that doesn't mean Tim Allen needs his own line of fly fishing lures he designed for L.L. Bean and it doesn't mean Queen Latifah has to have a television program about flower arranging and it doesn't mean Tilda Swinton needs a cover story on Concrete Monthly. Let other people do things!
I mean, sometimes I will make some jam or something and people will be like, "This is great. You should sell this." Not to toot my own horn. I'm sure people have said that to you about something you did. It's a thing people say. Or maybe not. Maybe you don't make anything other people would want to buy. I don't know. But, also, YES, THAT IS MY DREAM TO JUST MAKE GRAPEFRUIT JELLY WITH LEMONGRASS AND SEA SALT FOR A LIVING. But it seems I can't make grapefruit jelly until I have my own HBO show or something. "Oh, how will I know if his grapefruit jelly is good if he hasn't acted in a movie?" Just a very normal way to decide what things to purchase.
What does this have to do with anything? Particularly, what does this have to do with honey oat bread? I don't know. I mean, most of the time I can only come up with the thinnest transition between my crazy rant and the recipe anyway, so maybe today let's not even try.
I have talked about this before, because it's a very interesting topic, but I don't like oatmeal. Like, the mushy breakfast food oatmeal. I don't mind it in things, like oatmeal cookies, but the slop in the bowl is something I have tried to like and I don't and I'm sorry.
What is your first reaction? "But oatmeal is delicious!" Of course it is, particularly if you like oatmeal. Whenever I say I don't like oatmeal people start arguing about how great oatmeal is. "Oh, I had not heard the argument that oatmeal is delicious. That changes everything. Now I love it."
I'm also not a big fan of sour cream. "WHAT? You don't like sour cream?!?!" See. It's involuntary. You can't help thinking it. People are almost offended, like they work for sour scream. I mean, I'll eat these things, but I'd rather not. That's just the way it works. It's how my taste buds are. There is no use arguing about it.
So this recipe is a way to use some leftover Bob's Red Mill Rolled Oats that I had, which I had again attempted to make into oatmeal, again covered up with milk and syrup and brown sugar and bananas and all of the other things people use to cover up the taste of oatmeal and again did not like.
honey oat bread
adapted from bon appétit, november 2001
+ 1 3/4 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
+ 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, plus extra for garnish
+ 1 tablespoon instant yeast
+ 1/3 cup honey
+ 3 tablespoons canola oil
+ 1 tablespoon kosher salt
+ 4 - 5 cups all purpose flour
+ 3 tablespoons butter, melted
In a medium bowl, stir 1 1/2 cups of the warm water with the 3/4 cup of rolled oats. Let stand for about 15 minutes.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup of the warm water to a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over. Let stand for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy. Stir in the water/oat mixture, 1/3 cup honey, 3 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Begin stirring in the flour, about a cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. You won't necessarily have to use the full 5 cups of flour.
Oil another large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in volume, 1 to 2 hours.
Oil two loaf pans. When the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down and cut in half. Shape each half into two even loaves that will fit into the pans. Place a loaf in each pan and cover with a kitchen towel. Let them rise again until doubled in volume, another 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of each loaf with the melted butter and sprinkle with additional oats. Bake on the center rack until the tops are browned - the center should be about 200 degrees. This should take about 40 minutes.
Let the loaves cool on wire racks. Serve with honey butter.
makes two loaves