Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Oatmeal Poppy Seed Bread

I’ve never heard of oatmeal poppy seed bread, but it sounded promising.

Oatmeal Poppy SeedBread

Oatmeal Poppy Seed Bread

This recipe is from Bill Neal’s Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie, which I’ve written about here, here and here. I bought this book at Mabry Mill a few years ago and have enjoyed reading the history of various recipes and learning from Neal’s tips.

Neal created this bread recipe from different old Southern recipes. I think it works nicely.

Sliced oatmeal bread

I don’t usually make loaves with more wheat than bread flour. This recipe has a ratio of 3:1:1 of wheat, bread flour and oatmeal. Surprisingly, this bread doesn’t crumble as I thought it would. I meant to put in a tablespoon of additional wheat gluten, which is supposed to hold loaves together more, but forgot. Seems like I didn’t need to.

The bread makes delicious sandwiches and, I bet, would make great French toast.



Glass or metal pan?

I realized over this weekend that the type of pan you use — glass or metal — will affect your pie, cobbler or coffee cake.

Now this may not be a revelation to you, but it was to me and I’m happy that I’ll now be able to cook a cobbler or coffee cake without fear of it turning out doughy.

Through Bill Neal’s book, “Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie,” I’ve learned that for a double crust pie you should use a lightly greased, glass pie pan. I used that technique here:

This cherry pie is the first I’ve made from scratch. Not only did I make the crust from scratch, I also canned those cherries last year. Using Neal’s technique, the dough did not come out overly moist or crumbly. I could slice out a piece of pie and it would hold together!

Neal said single crust pies should be cooked in metal pie pans. After pricking the dough all over, use tin foil and press it over the crust and then pour in some pintos or other dried bean. Cook and then remove. I haven’t tried this technique yet.

When I made blackberry pie this weekend, I got to thinking about what Neal talks about in his book. Usually when I make a cobbler, it comes out doughy. And no matter if I cook it longer, it remains icky. This happened with a cherry coffee cake I made the weekend before using the left over canned cherries from the pie.

I got to thinking and realized that I baked all my cobblers and the coffee cake in a glass square pan. I wondered what would be the result if I used one of my metal pans. So I tried it out. And, viola!, the cobbler came out the best it ever has:

Here’s Neal’s book:

I love this book. It’s full of history, recipes and tips. I’ve used it to perfect my bread baking, to experiment with crackers and learn about Southern baking history.

You can also find it at Mabry Mill off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. That’s where I got my copy. While you’re there, stay for some yummy buckwheat or sweet potato pancakes.

Here’s another of Neal’s books:

Note: I recently started using Blogger’s Amazon Associates program. I may not be able to recommend all the products I link to here. I can, however, vouch for “Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie.”

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Using Bill Neal’s “Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie,” I poked my toe into the world of cracker-making.

Yep. Crackers. Didn’t know you could make ’em? That’s the same thing a colleague said to me when I told her I made some crackers the other week.

I’ve always wondered what dough was used to make crackers and how they were baked, etc. Turns out, it’s just biscuit dough, rolled to wafer thin.

In Neal’s book I found recipes for two types of crackers — one used with the old fashioned Southern biscuit dough (note — lots of beating involved) and the more modern biscuit flour that uses baking powder. I tried both.

The first batch weren’t too bad, but I wasn’t that impressed either. Neal literally tells the reader to find a rolling pin, broken broom end or hammer to knead/beat the dough for 15 minutes, no less. I got tired and gave up after 7 minutes of beating. I spent the last 8 minutes catching my breath and rolling out the dough for the crackers.

I didn’t add any additional toppings, such as salt, to the crackers. Just baked them for the 5-7 minutes. They seemed to be too biscuit like and didn’t have a lot of taste like store bought crackers. I assumed that I didn’t roll the crackers out thin enough and should have added salt. And with all that beating, they just weren’t worth it.

The second batch was easier. I used scrap dough from some biscuits I made over the weekend. I also made sure to prick the cut out crackers with a fork a few times (which I was supposed to do the first time, but forgot to do) and sprinkled a little salt on top. These turned out much better and reminded me more of crackers you’d expect to find in a store or restaurant.

This batch was thin, crisp and had just enough taste (salt).

I also had a little accident in the kitchen this weekend that nearly drove me to tears.

After baking a couple loaves of bread, I placed them on wire racks on the table to cool. Thinking myself wise, I placed a kitchen towel under the racks to catch any crumbs.

Instead this somehow was not a good idea. I caused heat and/or water damage to my antique table and I don’t know how.
See those white angel wings? That’s not the flash of the camera or a trick of the light. That’s damage from the steam and heat of the bread. Arrrrrggggghhhhhh!

Hubby thinks a little sanding and refinishing will take care of the problem. But that still doesn’t make me feel any better. 😦

From now on, all baked goods will cool on the counter!