Recipe–Molasses Bread

From: Soup and Bread by Crescent Dragonwood. They got it from the Rabbit Hill Inn–whose website is here

Time Commitment: Have to be in and out of the house for 4 1/2 hours in order to make these loaves. There’s one hour free time while oats are soaking. Another 1 1/2 hour of free time during first rise. Another 40 minutes during second rise. And another 40 minutes of free time while it’s baking…

I make this recipe often. It’s a hard one not to like…

Tools you need:
  • Two loaf pans
  • Cooking spray
  • an oven 🙂
  • I use an electric mixer for this recipe, but it can be kneaded by hand

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats, quick or not so quick–(I’ve even substituted Earth’s Best mixed grain baby cereal here when I didn’t have any oats in the pantry, but I needed to adjust the water content…)
  • optional 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • water–some boiling and some just warm
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 or more cups of unbleached flour (I usually substitute at least one cup of this with whole wheat)
What to do:

Step One: Pour 2 cups of boiling water over your cup of oats. I make this recipe in my Kitchen-Aid mixer. So, in go the oats, in goes the boiling water, and the butter. Let it sit for an hour while you fold laundry or garden or write a new children’s picture book.

Step Two: Put yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and allow to mostly dissolve. I’m not so particular about this, but if your yeast is old, this will tell you if it’s still active. Meanwhile, add molasses and salt to the oat mixture. Before you dump your yeast mixture into the oats, make sure the mixture is warm, not hot or you’ll kill the yeast, and that will be a big bummer… Molasses flat bread.

Step Three: Begin adding the flour, one cup at a time. I turn my mixer, with the dough hook to the lowest setting, and  add one cup after another. Once the five cups of flour are mixed in I turn the setting to medium and let the dough hook whir in circles for about 8 or 10 minutes. If the dough is extremely batter-like, I’ll add another 1/2 cup of flour. Sometimes more, depending on the type of flour I’m using. You can knead this dough by hand, but it’s rather sticky. Don’t be tempted to add a ton of flour to get that silky, French bread feeling. It just won’t happen.

Step Four: Transfer the dough from the mixer to an oiled bowl. Cover with a dampened towel. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk–about 1 1/2 hours.

Step Five: Divide the dough into 2 pieces and mold into 2 loaves of bread. You can either make the loaves into boules, or bake them in oiled pans like I do. Cover with the dampened towels. Let rise 40 or so minutes–or until doubled in size.

Step Six: Preheat the oven to 375.  Bake for 40 minutes. Remove loaves from the pans as soon as the bake is finished (or else they’ll get too moist if left in the pans to cool). Allow them to cool on a rack.

Step Seven: Fight off the children.

Step Eight: Give one loaf to a neighbor and eat the other:)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I wouldn’t mind a nice stay at the Rabbit Hill Inn, but, you know, they haven’t yet found my blog and proposed any sort of exciting package for baker’s daughters or children’s book writers. Here’s hoping. Nor have I met Steve Davison, who composed the song, “Bayou Bartholomew Blues.” I think his song fits pretty nicely with my molasses bread. If I ever find out more about him, or am in his neighborhood, I’m going to bake him a loaf–or two. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Hoping for More than Bread…

Two loaves of molasses bread

Oats: noon

Mixed: 1 pm

Molded: 3 pm

Baked: 3:50 pm

Gave to: Homeless man wandering the Whole Foods parking lot

My son was a bit freaked out when I drove across the parking lot and bolted out of the car to chase down this homeless man. I had seen him before, and had wanted to bake for him. He was almost out at the street, though, so I stepped on the gas.

His hair matted, his clothes a jumble of mismatched patterns, my heart breaks for him each time I see him wandering State Street pushing his stroller. I had warm molasses bread in the car and just wanted him to have it.

“I baked an extra loaf of bread today and would love for you to have it,” I mumbled to the man. “My name’s Jane, by the way.”

He stared at me for a very long moment and then took the handles of the bag that held the bread. He looked inside. “You wouldn’t happen to have any juice, would you?”

“I’m sorry. I don’t. Just the bread.”

“A food card?” He pointed to the grocery store across the way.

“I’m sorry, I don’t have a food card, and don’t even have any cash. I just have the bread.”

He looked into the bag again. “Well, thank you, mam.”

And off he went, the bag strung over the handle of the stroller. He headed back up the street, and my son and I zipped back to our cozy home…