Sunday, April 1, 2012

Maryetta's Oatmeal Bread

I guess the joke for this April Fool's Day is the price of bread!  While I understand slightly the economics of flour production, I'm still amazed when I go to the store and find a loaf of bread around $4.  Furthermore, I'm never sure of all the added ingredients. 

So,  its time to pull out the cook book and whip up a few loaves.  I want to share with you a family favorite for oatmeal bread.  What makes it so great is the probability you will have everything to make it in your cupboard.  The recipe, Maryetta's Oatmeal Bread, is from a 1974 cookbook, Beard on Bread (Alfred A. Knopf, New York).  If you can find this cookbook at a garage sale, snatch it up.  It has the best assortment of recipes and even includes a yeast pancake recipe (some of you may know them as flappers).

This recipe will produce three loaves.

Maryetta's Oatmeal Bread from Beard on Bread, page 106

3 cups rolled oats
7 1/2 - 8 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour)
2 packages active dry yeast (I use 4 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast)
2 tablespoons salt (I use very little...maybe 1 teaspoon)
4 tablespoons salad oil
1/2 cup molasses

Pour the boiling water over the oatmeal in a large bowl and leave to cool.  Then stir in 2 cups of flour and the yeast.  Place in a warm, draft-free spot and allow to rise, uncovered, until double in bulk.  Punch down and work in the salt, salad oil, molasses, and enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough.  Turn out on a floured board and knead, adding extra flour if necessary, to make a smooth, pliable, firm dough - about 10 minutes, but you cannot knead too much.  Divide the dough into three equal pieces, and form into loaves to fit three buttered 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf tins.  Allow to rise again, uncovered, until doubled in bulk.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 40-60 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when removed from the tins and rapped on top and bottom.  Cool on racks before slicing.

Beard noted that this bread is great for toasting and it is essential to leave the dough UNCOVERED while rising.  

I am too lazy to make the bread as Beard did with kneading by hand.  Instead, I put my oatmeal and water in the bowl of my Kitchen Aid mixer.  The mixing is all done with the dough hook and the only exertion of energy to make the bread is measuring the ingredients and greasing the bread tins.  I knead the dough  about 5 - 7 minutes and I find I use less flour (7 1/4 cups).  I do use parchment paper to line my pans after greasing. 

The molasses is a wonderful addition and gives the bread a beautiful appearance as well as sweet fragrance when baking.  

A great bread which gets sliced up and eaten quickly in my house. 


  1. Your bread looks so delicious, and the recipe is sort of similar to the sponge method recipes in the book I have been using since my hippie days -- The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown. Both books were published in the early 70s, and are available new and used. I just ordered Beard's book and am excited to try some new recipes.

    1. I wish your sister would have written more of your life story to include Martha, The Hippie Days, Volume IV. :)
      I have a feeling with the media attention on the food industry more of these "hippie" books and Mother Earth News magazine will skyrocket. While the current media focus is on sugar, this recipe uses molasses and by the time you cut a slice, you're only getting less than one teaspoon of molasses per slice of bread. I'll be checking out the Tassajara Bread Book.