Maple syrup isn’t just something you pour on pancakes around here. Oh no, it is a very, very big deal. The process is precise and communal and talked about everywhere you go. Opinions are distinct and livelihoods are at stake. This tapping business is serious stuff and we are very lucky to benefit from it all. Even our tiny tiny town’s bi-weekly story hour revolved around it last week. With a full tour around the property, a good explanation of the giant bubbling machinery, a delicious story, and some vanilla ice cream topped with warm syrup to finish things off just right, we were in heaven. Well almost. With the worlds most chewed up dirty old check book in hand, I knew that there was no leaving this place until I had a trunk full of that Grade B amber liquid. So, I did what any pregnant woman new to Vermont would do and purchased an astounding amount of syrup bottled and boxed and sealed tight.
Since then, I have tried to ration, really I have, but it seems my oven is always smelling of pancakes regardless. There has been maple muffins and maple yogurt and maple glazes and maple dressings and of course you knew there would be maple bread. Maple Oatmeal Bread to be precise. With every toast of the toaster that maple smell goes wafting back into your nose with this loaf.
Maple Oatmeal Bread
1/2 cup of coffee
3/4 cup of maple syrup
1 cup of boiling water
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 cup of oats (your leftovers could suffice)
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 tsp sea salt
5 tsp. dry active yeast
1/4 cup of luke warm water
6 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
Combine first 7 ingredients. Meanwhile mix up yeast and warm water and let it get all bubbly so you know its alive. Mix eggs into your batter and the bubbly yeast. Stir in flour one cup at a time until your spoon can’t do the work. Turn onto a floured surface kneading until it’s just over sticky. Turn into a well buttered bowl and let double in size. About 1.5 hours. Split in half and fold into two loaves. Place them in very well buttered loaf pans cover them up and let them rise again until at the edge of the pans top. This shouldn’t take very long at all. Place in a pre heated 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes, let cool slightly and turn onto a drying rack. Wait until its mostly cooled to slice and slather in butter and if your sweet tooth is really bothering you top with a little extra syrup too….