This unusual loaf is worth every second of the 3½ hours it takes from start to finish. Be sure you make enough of it, because it will put on a cookie-like disappearing act. Be careful about the ingredients, especially oatmeal; get a good one, like John McCann's from Ireland, and spurn the instant oatmeal as you would freeze-dried Chablis!
Combine the yeast, honey, and salt with
Spread the remaining all-purpose Hour on a board and knead the dough into it thoroughly, about a dozen times, then put the dough in a large, well-greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Set to rise in a warm place until double its original bulk (about 1 hour).
Just before the end of the rising time, presoak 2 clay pots, top and bottom, in water for 15 minutes. (We use
Place the risen dough on a floured board, divide, and shape into 2 loaves. Before putting the loaves in the presoaked pots, put a small piece of aluminum foil, just large enough to cover the bottom of the loaf, on the bottom of each pot. (This keeps the bread from sticking to the pot.) Place the dough inside the pots, cover, and allow to rise until almost doubled in bulk (about 45 minutes).
Cover the pots and put them in a cold oven.
Set the oven temperature at 480 degrees.
Bake for 40 minutes. If necessary, remove the lid for the last 5 minutes of baking to get a golden brown crust.
© 1974 All rights reserved. Published by Echo Point.