Why is it called Nun Bread. . . .
A close friend of mine is an awesome cook. She’s a nurse with a stressful job who still finds time to cook everything homemade—all the time. Her husband should bow down and kiss the ground she walks on. I have no problem telling him that repeatedly.
About five years ago while I was visiting, Fluffy (her Better Half’s term of endearment) made the most amazing rolls, and when I asked what they were, she replied, “Nun’s rolls.” What? They were crispy on the outside with a great chewy bite inside. I’m normally your All-American white bread kind of gal, but this was made from cracked wheat and steel-cut oats, and mmm, honey. I asked for the recipe and of course it was in her head, so she jotted it down on a notepad. The next week I tried making the rolls, but into bread. When reading her notes I could see something wasn’t right. I called and asked her if perhaps the recipe should contain yeast. Oops, yes. Salt? Oops, yes. I couldn’t get the taste exactly the same, but over time I have messed around with it and am pretty close.
This makes one lovely loaf or round, or about 12 rolls. If you think you’re not a fan of wheat, you must try these. Here’s my recipe for Nun Bread—yeast and salt included!
2-1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup cracked wheat
1/4 cup steel-cut oats
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2-1/2 cups all-purpose (unbleached) flour
In mixing bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Allow to proof for 10 minutes.
In medium-sized bowl, pour boiling water over cracked wheat and oats. Add butter, honey, and salt, stirring until butter melts. Allow to cool slightly.
Pour wheat/oat mixture into yeast mixture. Add flours, mixing well. Knead mixture until smooth (it will be somewhat sticky). Place in a greased bowl, cover with towel, and allow to rise until doubled (approx. 2 hours). Punch dough down and either place in loaf pan or shape into round loaf or rolls and allow to rise (approx. 1.5 hours).
Bake at 350° for approximately one hour (for bread) and approximately 40 minutes for rolls, or until golden brown.
For more yeast love, please check out: YeastSpotting!