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Molasses and oatmeal combine to make this deep golden-yellow loaf, moist and chewy with just a hint of bite from the oats. This is terrific sandwich bread.
This recipe comes to us from Anna Leland Perkins of East Bridgewater, Mass. Typical of older family recipes, it includes sketchy instructions; after all, bakers "back then" were expected to know how to combine ingredients to make their daily bread!
We print here Anna's recipe, as she gave it to us; then follow with some "fleshing out" of the instructions, and some comments about what we found when following the recipe.
"Dear Mrs. Hamel:
This is the recipe for Grandma Leland's Oatmeal Bread:
1 quart milk
1 pint water
3 cups oats
1 rounded tablespoon shortening
1 tablespoon salt
1 yeast cake dissolved in warm water
10 to 12 cups King Arthur Flour
1 cup molasses
Let rise to double. Stir down and pour into four pans. Let rise again. Bake at 350°F for about 45 to 50 minutes.
I scald the milk in a large kettle over boiling water, add the oats, salt and shortening. Turn off the heat and let stand until it thickens and is cool enough to add the yeast. Add molasses and as much flour as you can
My mother used to pour it into the pans, but my folks like the middle of shaped loaves, so I pour it onto a floured board, then add enough flour to make it kneadable. Takes more time, but they're happy!
Good luck on the bread making, and ENJOY!"
First of all, we halved this recipe, as two loaves of bread at a time are enough for most families these days. However, we did keep the salt at 1 tablespoon, as we feel the dough is under-salted otherwise. Ingredients are as follows:
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons shortening
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon (1 packet) active dry yeast
1/2 cup molasses
6 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Scald the milk, and stir in the rolled oats, shortening and salt. Let sit till lukewarm.
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add to oat mixture. Stir in molasses and 6 cups flour.
Beat in bowl for 5 minutes, using the flat paddle of an electric mixer, or beat by hand with a spoon.
At this point, you can either do as Anna says her mother used to doset dough aside to riseor do as she does, add more flour and knead it. We did it both ways, and found no appreciable difference in the final product. We prefer Grandma's way, as it simply involves less effort.
Let dough rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Punch down, and spoon into two 10x5-inch (1 1/2-lb.) bread pans. Let rise till almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes, or until loaves test done. Remove from oven, remove bread from pans, and brush each loaf with melted butter. Cool completely on a wire rack. Yield: Two lovely 1 1/2-lb. loaves.
Nutrition information per serving (1/2-inch slice, 45 g): 93 cal, 1 g fat, 3 g protein, 16 g complex carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 mg cholesterol, 169 mg sodium, 127 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 56 mg calcium, 47 mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 9, November 1992 issue.