Grandma Leland's Oatmeal Bread

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Grandma Leland's Oatmeal Bread

star rating (6) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

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 do—set dough aside to rise—or 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.


  • star rating 05/03/2011
  • ansugon from KAF Community
  • Excellent bread. Great texture and taste, very moist. (I'm eating some right now.) Like others, I also used butter instead of shortening. I didn't understand why the recipe said to "spoon" the dough into pans. I was expecting a soupy dough. But after fermentation the dough seemed like any other bread dough, albeit a bit sticky. So I treated it like any other bread dough: de-gas, business letter fold, rest, shape into loaves, proof. I found it took 40 minutes, though, for the loaves to finish baking (that is, to reach 210F internal temp).
  • star rating 01/18/2010
  • Teresa Rouzer from North Carolina, US
  • Only 4 stars because the color was a little odd in this bread. Very moist, very tasty - I will make again. I used dry milk reconstituted in making this recipe - worked fine. I was able to get 3 8"x4" loaf pans out of this recipe.
  • star rating 10/12/2009
  • Amanda from Ohio
  • very yummy. I used honey instead of molasses, reduced the salt by half, butter instead of shortening. Just wishing I still had home-canned strawberry tastes delish by itself, but good bread always creates the excuse for homemade jam.
  • star rating 10/10/2009
  • Janine from Vancouver, WA
  • This bread makes the BEST toast ever! I changed a couple of things .. used 2 TB soft butter (for flavor) instead of shortening and used instant yeast when I added the flour. I loved the chewy texture and the nooks and crannies the holes create. Very easy to make.
  • star rating 04/06/2009
  • Maria from Rhode Island
  • I love molasses breads. This bread definitely has it's own personality though. I used white whole wheat in place of all the white flour called for. It is incredibly chewy due to the oats and has a great molasses flavor. I would reduce the salt next time, as I found it to be a bit salty even though I'm a salt lover. The dough rose in no time in my kitchen. I cut the first rise off at 1 hour, and the second at 45 minutes. Even then, I think it rose too far and collapsed a bit in the oven. (Maybe this was due to adding the oat/milk mixture while still hotwarm and not lukewarm) So watch for that. Otherwise its a nice soft, chewy, batter bread-textured loaf.
  • star rating 01/24/2009
  • Elaine from Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Outstanding flavor, absolutely delicious