Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Finnish flatbread with oatmeal

What have I been up to? Taking pictures. With my new, first, "real" camera - a Nikon. 

I know my iPhone pics, heavily filtered and edited with Hipstamatic and Camera+, were far from ideal. But guess what? Having a DSLR hasn't solved all my problems - in addition to learning about aperture and shutter speed, I realized that the subject also has to look damn good because flaws show up so much better on a DSLR! I have to say this for Hipstamatic - although it looks really crummy on anything but an iPhone, it glosses over many defects, or to be more precise, it's so distorted you can't see defects clearly. 

So I'm still fiddling with my camera and food and trying to figure out a way to make everything work. It's going to take some time. In the meanwhile, I've given up and am posting a few things I took pre-DSLR. 

This is something my Finnish friend Elina taught me to bake - I detest porridge, especially oatmeal, but ever since I learnt how to make this, I've been stocking up on oatmeal because I use it up so quickly! There are many ways to make Finnish flatbread, Elina explained, using whatever ingredients you have on hand. There's no hard fast recipe, and I decided that I like mine with lots of oatmeal and just a bit of flour, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. 

So here it is.
Elina's flatbread

2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey, molasses or maple syrup
1/2 to 3/4 cup flour plus more for dusting (you can use all purpose, what, probably rye as well, whatever you like or have)

Preheat your oven to 400F.

First, cook your oatmeal. Don't buy the "quick" kind - even the normal, "old-fashioned" kind takes just 5 minutes. Just put the water and oatmeal in a pot and stir over medium heat until gloopy and very thick, or about 5 minutes. Add salt, then some sweetener. Stir well.

Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. It will still be very very wet and sticky. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and drop 1/4 or 1/3 cup spoonfuls of the mixture, leaving plenty of space in between. Sprinkle the tops generously with flour, and constantly dusting your fingers with flour, press the dough down so that it is about a quarter of an inch thick. Poke holes with a fork, and bake in the middle of the oven at 400F for 15 minutes, or until done. The breads probably will not be browned on the top, but the bottoms may start to brown. When you pick one up by the edge, it should not bend, but come up as a whole slab.

Recipe makes about 12 to 15 flatbreads - I usually make a whole bunch, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and pop one or two in the toaster whenever I want a bite. Makes a great breakfast!

You can put a variety of things on this, but the best is salted butter. I usually salt my butter myself, and whip it a little. Finnish flatbread with oatmeal with plenty of salted butter drizzled on it and a cup of strong coffee - my perfect breakfast these days.



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