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An Amish Recipe for Oatmeal Bread

September 26, 2014

amishbread6

Next up in testing recipes for Gather Round the Amish Table is Mother’s Oatmeal Bread. (Here are my other two tests, for Chocolate Cake and Amish Pecan Sticky Buns.) Yes, I’ve written about another oatmeal bread recipe that is my family’s ALL TIME FAVORITE from More with Less Cookbook, so I had mixed feelings trying this. Nothing could beat More with Less, could it?

Or was it exactly the same? If so, perhaps the More with Less recipe actually came from Amish sources, since many Mennonite families have Amish background just one or two generations back (indeed, my great grandfather). I was mainly intrigued by the idea of making FOUR loaves at once and just stocking my freezer with great bread. When I emailed my daughters about the bread, one quickly responded, “We’ll take some off your hands.”

Making four at once was interesting. Would my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with massive dough hook be up to the challenge? Would I burn out the motor on such a job? Would the heap of dough rise way up over my large pottery raising bowl? Such drama.

The project coordinator for reissuing Gather Round the Amish Table had her own questions she needed to have answered—which gets us to the whole reason for redoing the cookbook, which was originally Countryside Cooking and Chatting, by Lucy Leid (Herald Press, 2006).Countryside Cooking and Chatting

Many of the recipes in this collection—like so many old timey ones—were incomplete in directions, assuming that most cooks would easily be able to fill in the blanks of steps left out or even amounts left out: like how much flour to put in! This recipe lacked the flour amount.

Not to fear.

It passed all my challenges with flying colors and the taste test too. This recipe calls for honey which I usually don’t use for the More with Less recipe, which calls for brown sugar. (I’m sure many cooks make that substitution anyway.) But overall the honey resulted in bread that was perhaps a little less sweet. But that’s OK—and preferable and healthier for many folks. What do you think? It also uses eggs and oil (instead of butter which I used in our usual recipe).

But if you need a great recipe for making 4 loaves at once, or want to divide this in half and make two, this works either way.

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Mother’s Oatmeal Bread

Makes 4 loaves

3 ½ cups boiling water
2 cups quick oats
1 cup honey
2 Tablespoons salt
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons yeast ((I used 3 packages)
4 eggs
¾ vegetable oil
10 cups white flour
4 cups whole wheat flour*

Mix boiling water with oats, honey, and salt. Let stand 15 minutes or until lukewarm. As it cools, mix yeast with warm water and allow to sit a few minutes until yeast action begins. Add eggs and oil to oatmeal mixture and stir; then add yeast and water. Add one cup flour and beat. Continue adding flour one cup at a time, enough to make a soft dough. Turn out of mixing bowl onto floured surface. Knead 5-10 minutes. Form large dough ball and place in greased rising bowl. (I always spray the top of the dough with a spray shortening to keep it supple during rising.)

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Cover with clean towel. Set in warmish place. Allow to rise until double in bulk. Punch down and form four loaves and put in 4 greased bread pans. Allow to rise again until double. Bake at 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Use small amount of butter or margarine to spread on top of crust when done. Remove from pans. Cool. Enjoy! (If you need help with these steps, check out photos here.)

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*The original recipe called for an even 50/50 split of white and wheat flour; your call on that. In my opinion, making this flour mixture half and half makes too dense of bread for our tastes (although I know that freshly ground whole wheat flour lessens the density, I’m told).amishbread1

I also love that I was able to use a bunch of whole wheat flour from my friend Nancy Landis’ family mill, Rohrer’s Mill near Lancaster, Pa. which we purchased a number of years ago and still keep in the freezer in this bag. We were so pleased to visit the mill, which unfortunately burned in 2006.

***

In the forthcoming book, Gather Round the Amish Table, there’s a delightful story along with this recipe about how the originator served this bread at an Amish birthing center. The original book was called Countryside Cooking and Chatting, and again, the “chat” is great but I won’t spoil the book by sharing that story here. There will be lots of fun and fascinating stories along with beautiful photos in the book next year.

***

Do you substitute honey for sugar frequently? What is your all-time favorite bread recipe, or bread that you buy? Where do you get it? I’d love to hear.

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12 Comments
  1. I’ve never tried oatmeal bread before but it looks and sounds delicious! I can imagine the little chewy bits of oatmeal in the bread 😀

  2. This I’l have to share on Facebook, Melodie.

  3. Yum!!!! I think that I will try this!

  4. If you bake bread at all, it is a simple recipe. Good luck!

  5. Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

    I have never made bread myself but this looks very good

  6. Looks very yummy. I’ve always liked the moistness of oatmeal bread, but it’s been a very long time since I made some. Four loaves are a lot, but not in an Amish family.

  7. Jeff Hochstetler permalink

    Hi Melodie, my grandmother Ella was the one who submitted the recipe for oatmeal bread into the “More with less cookbook.” I’m not sure where she got the recipe, whether her family, who was Swiss Mennonite, handed it down to her or whether she got it from her husbands family, who was Amish. Regardless, it’s delicious!

    • Oh that is exciting to know the source of this recipe and that Ella Rohrer is probably also related to me, being of the large Hostetler/Hochstetler tribe (I assume you all are part of the Hostetler family train of ancestors)! Swiss Mennonite and Amish are two great threads! We agree that bread is SO good. I must make some soon! I bake bread more often in the fall and winter seasons–too busy with canning in the summer!

  8. Granny permalink

    Just want to know if it is liquid honey or creamed?

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