Oatmeal-Molasses Bread

One 12-ounce bottle of beer plus 4 ounces water (2 cups liquid) + 1 cup oats

Combine liquid and oats and heat to boiling, then turn off heat and add 2 TB butter, 1 1/2 tsp salt or so, and 1/4-1/3 cup molasses. Stir until butter is melted and molasses and salt distributed. Let cool to room temperature.

Oat & Liquid Mix

Oat & Liquid Mix

In a large bowl, put a little warm water (1/8-1/4 cup) and 1 1/2 tsp yeast or so. Stir to dissolve and add beer/molasses mixture plus two cups white flour and beat until thoroughly combined. Then beat some more, and keep adding white and/or wheat flour until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and put the bowl in the sink and fill it with warm water, so it can be cleaned out for the rising. Put another couple tablespoons of butter in a dish on the stove to melt.

Flour your hands, and start kneading–adding more flour to cut down on the stickiness. This is a pretty sticky dough because of the oats, so add enough flour a little at a time to keep your hands and surface from getting too gloppy.

Kneading Process

Kneading Process

When the dough begins to hold together well and not be too sticky, throw a moist towel over it and rinse out your bowl, dry, and add about half the butter in the melting dish to the bowl. Turn the dough into the bowl and turn it over a few times so it’s evenly coated. Throw the towel over the top and let rise until almost doubled.

In the Buttered Bowl

In the Buttered Bowl

Take the towel off and punch your fist down into the middle of the dough–Fun! Turn out on the table and knead again, pressing the air out (no extra flour needed). Put back in the bowl and let rise again if you want. It will go faster the second time, and the second rise makes the loaves taste better.

After the second rise (or the first if you can’t wait), punch down the dough, take it out of the bowl, knead out the air bubbles, and cut in half. Separate the two halves by a couple inches, throw the towel back over, and let rest for about fifteen minutes.

Grease a couple loaf pans with the rest of the butter (reserve a little for the tops of the loaves). When the dough is done resting, shape the two halves and fit them into their pans. Drizzle or brush the remaining butter over the tops. Cover again with the towel and let rise until doubled again (each rise goes a little faster than the last). Heat oven to 350 degrees and then pop in the raised loaves and bake.

Risen Loaves

Risen Loaves

Because of the wetness of this dough, it can take awhile to bake. The rule is about 22 minutes for a mini loaf (like the one they give you on a little cutting board at Whimp’s) and up to 30 or 35 minutes for a big loaf.

Test for done-ness by slipping the loaf out into a mitted hand and tapping the bottom with your fingers. It should sound a little hollow. If you have to bake it a long time to get it done in the middle and the top crust ends up a bit dark, simply butter the top crust when it’s finally done and it won’t end up tough.

When the loaves are done, slip them out of their pans and cool on a rack. As tempting as it is to slice into one right away, you can really muck this up if you cut it too soon. Give it at least fifteen minutes if you can wait that long, and use a gentle sawing motion with a good serrated knife.

Finished Product

Finished Product

This is my take on the bread my mom used to make when my brother and I were growing up. It filled the house with the most amazing aroma, and we’d eat practically all of it just plain with no spread whatsoever because it was that good.

It’s actually even better if you get the crust pretty dark (don’t burn it) because then the molasses sort of caramelizes, and when you butter the tops after it comes out, it’s about the best-tasting thing you can imagine. It certainly gets kids over their anti-crust issues.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matt on November 14, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    mmmm. i’ll make this this weekend.

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on November 14, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Just remember it’s a very soft bread–so make sure your butter is soft as well!

    I’m getting your goody package together!


  3. Posted by Matt on November 16, 2008 at 2:22 am

    A thoroughly pleasant bread, that’s deceptively light yet hearty. Here’s a couple slice, one drenched in butter, the other with apricot preserves. As is my m.o., I didn’t get it cooked enough in the center, but it was still delicious.

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