Monthly Archives: June 2015

At Last!

My regular blog readers know that my recent attempts at bread making have run the gamut from exceptionally horrible to simply, “Well THAT, didn’t work…”

One bread that I’ve always been successful with in the past has been a family recipe Shredded Wheat Bread.


And, if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that they don’t stock or sell shredded wheat here. SO, I searched on line for something else. I wanted a no-knead recipe. Counter space here at this house is VERY limited and I’ve even tried following instructions on how to knead bread in the bowl which wasn’t very successful.

I thought, perhaps, I could substitute oatmeal for the shredded wheat and there are actually a ton of recipes online for no-knead oatmeal bread. Don’t ask me why, but I decided to try THIS one out. Perhaps because is was one of the first ones that came up when I did a Google search.


1 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar 1 tbsp. salt
1 3/4 c. old fashioned rolled oats
3 c. boiling water

2 tbsp. butter
1 pkg. dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
6 c. all purpose flour

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, salt and oats. Add boiling water and butter, let stand until lukewarm.

Sprinkle yeast into 1/4 cup warm water and stir until dissolved. Add yeast mixture to oat mixture. Stir in flour 1 cup at a time. Dough will be sticky.

Transfer to a greased bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in bulk. Lift and drop dough 3 to 4 times.

Grease 2 (9 x 5 x 3) loaf pans and divide dough into 2 equal portions. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in bulk. Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Lower oven to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped with your finger. Remove bread immediately from pans and cool on wire racks.

So I decided to give it a whirl. It wasn’t easy getting all six cups of flour into the dough, but eventually it made it, and this is what I got:


I put the lid on it and let it sit for an hour and a bit until it looked like this:


I divided the dough, as per instructions into two loaf pans:


Now, I’m all by myself and two loaves of bread are more than I’m going to be able to get through before one of them goes stale so I put one in the freezer. When I was living in Florida we used to buy several bags of pre-made pizza dough at the Publix supermarket and put them in the freezer for later. When they were thawed out, and it usually took close to a full day to thaw out and then to rise, so I figured I’d try it with this. If it came out to be another failure I’d just be able to chuck the stuff in the freezer, and if it worked out well then I’d have something to look forward to.

I followed the baking instructions and got this:



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Baking Bread

Store-bought bread here in Panama leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it pretty much sucks! So, I’ve been online the last couple of weeks digging up bread recipes. So far my efforts are about on a par with the quality of store-bought bread. It sucks.

I’ve tried regular recipes and kneaded the dough but that’s no fun as far as I’m concerned. And it’s messy as hell, too. Flour everywhere that has to be cleaned up. I even went into David last week and bought a HUGE bowl and tried kneading the bread in it. Not much better.

Years ago I used to make a great, no-knead bread from a recipe passed down to my mom by her great aunt, Laura. It called for shredded wheat and molasses. Delicious, easy to make and it came out perfect every time. Problem here is 1) I’ve only found ONE store that stocks molasses and 2) NOBODY stocks shredded wheat!

There are a ton of “no knead” bread recipes online. They’re almost universally the same. Three (or six) cups of flour, some salt, some yeast and a cup and a half of water. So I’ve tried it. Followed the recipe to the LETTER. Let it rise and at the end of that time the dough was like soup!

So, I slowly added the water a little at a time until the dough looked “shaggy” as per the recipe instructions. At the end of the required rising time (anywhere from 4 to 20 hours) the dough was STILL like soup!

On Saturday I saw THIS recipe on line.

WOW, looked good. I LOVE baguettes! Especially the ones I used to buy in France. It’s a well-known fact that in France no baguette makes it home with the ends intact. Don’t those look delish? The promise is…

The promise

So last night I mixed up the ingredients. This morning, after rising for nearly 10 hours, I took off the cover and found that the dough had more than doubled into a nice SOUP!!!

I followed the rest of the instructions except the dough didn’t form into the promised. It was impossible to “delicately shape each half into a long rod. I do this by gently squeezing, not pulling. Plop them on a cookie sheet (don’t worry, doesn’t need to be nonstick). The loaves will look kinda flat, but they’ll rise in the oven.”


Look “kinda flat?”


“They’ll rise in the oven”


This is the reality:


Bottoms scorched. Maybe a quarter of an inch thick in the center. A complete waste of time, flour, and stove gas!


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