I’m reaching back in time a bit for this recipe – it definitely isn’t gluten free! This is (was?) one of my favourite family recipes. My mom didn’t often make bread, but when she did, it would be a loaf of this dark, dense loaf. It’s a particularly great accompaniment to a bowl of soup or stew, but really, it’s perfect with any fall or winter meal.
I’ve added some tips in the instructions – I was just going to give perfunctory steps, but then decided to elaborate a little bit more. I’m far from an expert, but back in my gluten-eating days I got really into making bread, so maybe some wordy instructions will help someone conquer their fear of yeast. You never know, right? 🙂 A super amazing book that I think would be valuable to just about anyone is Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It will take you from zero to hero, I promise!
Hearty Oatmeal Molasses Bread
-2 c. boiling water
-1 c. rolled oats (not instant)
-1/2 c. molasses
-1 tbsp. earth balance or non-dairy butter of choice
-1/2 – 1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. active dry yeast
-approximately 5 c. flour (I’ve done this recipe with all AP, half AP/half WW AP, half AP/half bread flour, etc. Do whatever you prefer, just adjust the amount of flour as required!)
Combine the 2 c. boiling water and 1 c. oats in a large mixing bowl. Add in the 1/2 c. molasses, 1 tbsp. butter and salt. Stir, and allow to cool. When the bowl of molasses-oat goop is lukewarm, add in the yeast and stir to combine. (Alternatively, you could set aside a couple tablespoons of the water, unboiled, and dissolve the yeast in it with a pinch of sugar before combing with the oat mixture. I usually skip this step and have never encountered any problems.)
Stir in as much of the flour as you can with a spoon. When it become too stiff to stir, dump the dough onto a clean surface and knead in as much flour as is required to form a firm but pliable dough. Knead (by hand, adjust time as necessary for a mixer) for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. The biggest thing (I think) is to always start out with a dough that is too moist. It is much easier to add more flour to a dough than it is to add more liquid. The dough should feel smooth and soft without being tacky or stiff and hard to work with. Also, the dough will get easier to handle as you knead and the gluten develops.
Ok, once you have your ball of kneaded dough, plop it in a greased mixing bowl, cover loosely with saran wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. I like to briefly turn on my oven, turn it off, and use the warm oven to rise bread in – just don’t forget that you’ve got something in the oven (and yes, I speak from experience!) Allow the dough to double in size. Punch down, and form into a loaf or rolls. The trick to an even rise is to pinch the loaf together at the bottom to create smooth tension in the dough at the top of the loaf.) Allow to rise in the greased loaf pan to double in size.
Preheat oven to 375F. If you are using a warmed oven to rise the bread, remove it from the oven before it is fully risen in order to preheat the oven. If you allow it to fully rise and then wait for the oven to be at temperature, your loaf might over-rise and fall!
Bake at 375F for approximately an hour. The loaf is done when:
a) the crust is as baked as it’s going to get without burning
b) the bottom sounds hollow when tapped
c) the internal temperature registers 190-195F.
I like option C the most! Let cool, slice, and enjoy!