Snack Attack: Oatmeal Batter Bread

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett

I’m still on my Laura Ingalls Wilder kick; Melissa Gilbert, who’s now old enough to portray Ma, will be in Raleigh this week for the musical version of “Little House,” and do I wish I could go. We’ve been having such fun making cheese lately (I really do want chickens and a cow for my birthday … and really know I am getting neither), and I think often of what a privilege it is to make these things for the fun of it, rather than, like Ma, because I must if we want to eat.

It’s more than just fun, of course: I make this food and do my summer canning because it gives me control over what goes in our bodies. We’re in such a weird, tug-of-war food time in this country; I routinely read articles about the latest nonsense from industrial food companies targeting children for their newest junk alongside articles about the campaigns to fight childhood obesity and teach our kids the deliciousness of home-cooked foods.

It’s obvious which side I’m on, but I often want to retreat from the fight and just head for the kitchen to bake something soothing. Today’s snack suggestion gets me there, going back to the basics of bread and butter. A slice of oatmeal bread with a thin slick of butter fulfills many of my snack requirements: It’s pretty good for you; it requires chewing, so eating it takes longer and feels more satisfying; and it’s versatile. This bread is moist enough that you can skip all toppings, or use jam or nut butter instead, or toast it for a little more crunch that the butter can melt into. The basic loaf takes to all sorts of additions, from chocolate chips to dried fruit to nuts and spices. Terrific with a glass of milk, it’s also great with a cup of tea, a grown-up treat my children love.

And it doesn’t get much easier than this, a batter bread that requires no kneading. I’m planning a bread series, but you don’t need the tips and techniques it will have for this recipe. Just mix, plunk into a pan and bake. Just like Ma.

Recipe: Oatmeal Batter Bread

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