I'm really not a fashionably late kind of person. I like to arrive two minutes early or right on time. I always account for traffic, and if I'm really early, I'll just sit and read a book in the car instead of overwhelming myself with the anxiety of running late. It's just who I am.
This time, though, I arrived incredibly late to the oat soda bread party, but at least I'm making an appearance. As best as I can understand it, it began with Heidi at 101 Cookbooks who gave us a recipe in her cookbook, Super Natural Cooking. Then, Jennie over at In Jennie's Kitchen put her spin on things, and Heidi posted the cookbook recipe on her website. I remember a flurry of tweets about it, wondering what all the fuss was.
But the fuss over this utterly delicious bread is well warranted, as I've recently discovered. I tend to favor my KitchenAid mixer for most baking, but this method was so simple it was thrilling to stir everything up in one bowl. I really can't explain how good it smells. Nutty, and almost sugary, though it doesn't taste so. We dunked it into tomato and white bean soup and ate it plain with a pat of butter the following day, both wonderful uses for this bread.
OAT SODA BREAD
Recipe slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Cooking spray, to grease pan
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and kneading
1 ¾ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt
1 ¾ cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter or spray a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
To make the oat flour, use a food processor to pulse the rolled oats a few times. Then process into a fine powder - another minute or two.
Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in the buttermilk. Stir just until everything comes together into a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for 30 seconds or so, just long enough for the dough to come together into a cohesive, slightly flattened ball without many cracks or fissures. If your dough is on the dry side, add more buttermilk a small splash at a time. Now ease the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan - see photo if you need a bit of guidance.
Brush all over the top and sides with buttermilk and sprinkle generously with additional oats or flour, 2 tablespoons or so. Slice a few deep slashes across the top of the dough. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a hard crust forms and the bread is baked through. It will feel very solid and sound hollow when you knock on it. Carefully lift it out of the pan, in a timely fashion, and allow to cool on a wire rack.