This recipe had me at maple. I’m a simple person really. But maple syrup, oats and melted butter all cozied up into a crusty loaf of bread (that requires minimal effort and even less skill to make) would win over even the most complex of characters. There is no more appropriate time to celebrate maple syrup than on Vermont Town Meeting Day, the traditional time to tap one’s maple trees. It also happens to be when everyone needs a little comfort food to push through the final sub-zero throes of winter.
This comes from the “no knead” family of bread recipes, which, as you can imagine, is the only bread family in my recipe box. The no knead process is very easy but does require a few things, namely time (not work time, just hang time for the dough), a heavy duty cooking crock and a really hot oven. The perfect scenario is to take 5 minutes and mix all the ingredients at night then bake up a fresh loaf in the morning. Second to that is mixing the dough in the morning and baking it up for dinner. Either way, you’ll have plenty of time to get out there to the town hall and vote on wind farms, beaver dams and moose quotas.
Recipe tweaked from King Arthur Flour via Food52
Makes 1 large loaf
5 cups all-purpose flour (you can replace a couple cups with whole wheat if you wish)
11/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup (preferably grade B)
1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 1/4 cups room temperature water
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well until it becomes a tacky, messy dough. (You can also use your hands to work everything together.)
2. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature) until poofed and bubbly, 8 hours or overnight.
3. Gently scrape the dough out onto a well floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Place the loaf on a well floured towel and allow to sit for an hour.
4. In the meantime preheat your oven to 450F with a 10-inch (about 8-quart) Dutch oven or baking crock with lid in it. When the dough is ready and the oven is hot, turn the dough off of the towel into the hot Dutch oven and cover with the lid. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake until the crust is deep brown, another 15-30 minutes.
5. Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out of the pot and allow to cool completely before slicing.