It’s a delight to welcome Food Correspondent Maple Trout Lilli back for the 2023 sugar season on this morning when sky and earth merge in the thick white of falling snow – the kind “that stays on my nose and eyelashes” – and it feels just right to stay at home and bake bread, venturing out to snowshoe while the dough rises.

She writes:


Have you heard what’s trending? It’s smeared and spread and topped with all manner of toppings from simple salt to herbs and edible flowers. Two and one half years after the pandemic, communal dining is seeing a resurgence and butter boards are taking main stage. Pockets of sweetness, and pockets of saltiness….The world is your oyster here – butter knife optional.

Try savory w/ lemon zest, fresh herbs, radishes and sea salt…
or go the sweet route with figs and pistachios and a sprinkle of maple sugar.

And here’s the bread…


1 cup rolled oats plus another 1/2 cup for coating the pan
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 cup room-temp water
1.5 teaspoons instant yeast

2 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 cup stone-milled flour or whole wheat flour

Softened unsalted butter (for greasing)
1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, boiling water, maple syrup, and salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup water and stir to combine. Add the instant yeast, and stir to combine. Finally, add the flours and stir with a rubber spatula, until the liquid is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball. You may need to knead the dough with your hands briefly to help the dough come together, no more than 15 to 30 seconds.

  2. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 2 to 3 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume.

  3. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease an 8.5 x 4.5-inch (or 9 x 5-inch) loaf pan generously with softened butter. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of oats into the loaf pan and turn the pan so that the oats coat the pan on all sides. Pour out the remaining
    oats and put aside.

  4. When the dough has doubled, drizzle the tablespoon of olive oil over the top and use your hand to rub the oil over the surface to coat. Use your hand again to release the dough from the sides of the bowl, then flip the ball over so that the oil side is down. Roll the dough into a coil or into a loaf shape, then transfer to your prepared pan, seam side down. Pour the reserved oats over the top, then spread with your hand or shake the pan to distribute them.

  5. Let the dough rise on the countertop (preferably in a warm, draft-free spot) for 45 minutes to an hour or until the dough has risen significantly in the pan — it should be doming above the rim of the pan by about one inch.

  6. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is evenly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack. Let the loaf cool for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Gather around.


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