Apple & Oats Make Good Bread, Plus Some Sea Photos

Photos First.

Given that I have been slack at posting recipes lately I feel I should actually give you a full dose of me today plus a brand new bread recipe.

My kitchen is busy, my house smells devine and that makes me happy.

Life has been a little upside down the last few weeks. After my surgery I spent a couple of weeks feeling excessively tired every day, it meant I was napping a lot and I got out of my usual super efficient routine around the house. I found that I wasn’t getting my jobs done in the day plus I was still working. However in the last week or two I suddenly am feeling a whole lot better, it was like someone just flicked a switch. My doctor did some blood tests to check and my haemoglobin levels are still a little low but they are a whole lot better than they were a month ago. I get another blood test in two weeks so see where we are at.

I’ve started walking decent amounts again, when I can that is. I am not allowed to go to back to the gym for another 6 weeks so walking a good alternative. I love the coastline where I live and the views, it blows me away every day. I always would like to share photos, but sometimes I feel people would get bored with them so I try not to share every day just to keep them fresh.

However I am going to share today, this is the view from the lane as you arrive onto my local beach. That is not my dog, it was just walking along and decided to get itself into my photograph.

On up about three miles from where live is a town with a marina, once again some spectacular views. The boat is called Thalassa, which means spirit of the sea in Greek mythology, I have seen the Thalassa all around Northern Ireland. I think it must follow me or I follow it, because everywhere I go the Thalassa seems to be docking or setting sail. I have photographed that boat on so many occasions I actually now feel an affection for it and look forward to seeing it.

So while I am here posting photographs, here are a couple more from the same harbour as the Thalassa was docked.

Baking

I took advantage today of the fact that the two youngest children are out of the house this morning and baked. The children are helpers at a local summer bible club which is running for the week. In years gone by the children attended, but now they are too old as the club runs only for up to age 11s. The children basically helped by getting things out and tidying up as well as being supervisors during activities. The minister is also down this week and he is giving Seb some lessons in preparation for Seb’s becoming a communicant member of our church. Seb is happy as they do the lessons while the children are doing the aerobics class and Seb doesn’t have to join in.

The bread I made is Apple & Oat Bread

INGREDIENTS

620g strong white bread flour (21.9oz)

325ml-350ml slightly warm water (11.5 -12oz)

2.5 teaspoon active dry yeast

2 tablesooons butter

2 tablespoons Bramley apple sauce

1.5 teaspoons salt

1.5 tablespoons dried milk powder

40-50g rolled oats (1.5-2oz)

METHOD

Mix the yeast into the water. I used 325ml initially but I found I had to sprinkle a little more water into my dough. Just go by how it feels, I know it often depends on the temperature of your surroundings.

While you are waiting for your yeast to bloom add all of the other ingredients into a large bowl.

Once your yeast and water is bubbling mix it into the bowl with the other ingredients. Use your dough hooks as required then knead into a soft dough.

Rest your dough covered in the bowl for around one hour.

After an hour knock the air out of the dough and shape for your loaf. Slash your bread to allow for expansion.

Place onto your non stick baking parchment and leave to rise for around an hour. Test for your dough to be ready to baked by gently pushing in with one finger, if the dough slowly comes back to shape then it’s ready to bake.

About 45 minutes in warm your oven to 240C (460F). In my case I used a cast iron oven dish to bake my bread. You can bake the bread open if you wish, the method will vary slightly, you can use this method.

If you are using your cast iron pot then heat it in the hot oven for around 15 minutes, it needs to be almost smoking hot so your bread dough gets a good boost when you initially place it in the oven.

Once the oven is hot transfer the bread into your cast iron pot and bake with the lid on for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes remove the lid and turn the oven down to 200C(395F).

Bake for a further 15-20 minutes then check if it’s ready. Test for readiness by tapping the base of the bread and if it sounds hollow then your bread is ready to come out of the oven. If not bake for a further five minutes and check again.

When the bread is ready lift onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy this lovely soft bread with a good lashing of butter and topping of your choice.

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