My family’s all-time favorite homemade bread is Oatmeal Bread as we first discovered it in the best-selling More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre (Herald Press). My pages in that cookbook are tattered and splotched from years of use, but now I have a new and cleaner place to follow that recipe, in my own book Whatever Happened to Dinner: Recipes and Reflections for Family Mealtime (also Herald Press). Whatever Happened to Dinner includes almost 100 recipes, and the oatmeal bread appears in that book with the adaptations we made, and named for my youngest daughter, Doreen’s Oatmeal Bread. For a number of years she was the chief bread baker at our house—wonderful years for this harried mom!
What we love about this bread is that it contains a hearty and wholesome mix of three grains: oatmeal, wheat and traditional white flour. This bread is as good as any dessert when sliced and buttered up just fresh out of the oven, or dripping with your favorite jam. After the bread is no longer out-of-the-oven fresh, we love it toasted and served the same way. A thick slice makes a quick and good breakfast all by itself—or with coffee and juice. Or if you’re always watching calories like me, slice it as thin as your bread knife allows, and savor it that way. Eat it mindfully and the taste just explodes on your tongue. Oops, now I’m getting hungry!
This comes “more or less” from More with Less Cookbook, the classic Mennonite cookbook that came out the year my husband and I were married. In our version, we use a little more flour than the original recipe, and we two packages of yeast rather than only one.
Combine in large bowl:
1 cup quick oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Pour 2 cups boiling water over mixture in bowl.
2 packages dry yeast in
½ cup warm water
When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast mixture.
Stir in 5½ cups white flour (you’ll probably add another ½ cup in kneading). When dough is stiff, turn onto a floured board and knead 5-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased 9x5x3-inch pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Cool on rack, brush loaves with butter or margarine for a soft crust.
Suggestions: For a little added nutrition, you can substitute some or all white whole wheat flour for the white flour. If you substitute more than half, the bread will have a denser texture, and you may need less flour, but the result is still tasty.
Melodie M. Davis is the author of nine books, most recently, Whatever Happened to Dinner: Recipes and Reflections for Family Mealtime (Herald Press, 2010). She writes the syndicated column, Another Way, serves as a managing editor for Herald Press, and is also editor of a local family publication, Valley Living. She keeps a blog where she features frequent recipes from her home, family and church life. She is married and the mother of three adult daughters and two grandsons.
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