Old-Fashioned Porridge Bread

Adapted from The Purity Cookbook circa 1950’s or 60’s (It was my Mom’s. The cover is long-gone)

Pour 3 cups (750 ml) boiling water over

2 cups (500 ml) rolled oats (or spelt, or kamut…) and 1/4 cup (60 ml) oil. Stir and let stand about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, dissolve 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sugar (or maple syrup, or honey) in 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water. Over this sprinkle 2 tablespoons (30 ml) active dry yeast (or 2 packets, if you’re not buying in bulk). Look for “traditional” not “instant” or “breadmaker” types. Let stand for 10 minutes, then stir briskly with a fork.

Into the rolled oat mixture, stir 2/3 cup (175 ml) molasses, or brown sugar, or maple syrup (you get the idea, something sweet). If desired, add 5 ml salt. (It will be fine if you leave it out, just less salty!)

Check the temperature. Once the oat mixture is lukewarm, mix in yeast.

With a wooden spoon beat in 3 cups (750 ml) all purpose unbleached flour. Then you’ll need another 5 cups (1.25 l) or so of whole wheat flour. I say “or so”, because it depends on things like humidity, absorbency of the flour. Stir in some of this flour until it becomes too hard to do it with the spoon. Then turn the whole mess out on the counter and get to work.

Work it in with a rotating motion of your hands. Knead in the flour, pushing the dough away and pulling it back toward you, until it is smooth and elastic (about 8 or 10 minutes). It won’t feel sticky any more.

Shape into a smooth ball and put in a greased bowl (use a little of the same oil you used in the bread). Turn it over to be sure the surface is lightly coated. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let it stand in a warm place, letting it rise until doubled – 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Punch down (or poke holes in it!) and cut into four pieces, shaping into loaves. Place in greased loaf pans or shape into rolls. Cover and let rise again til doubled (about an hour, depending on how warm your kitchen is).

Bake in preheated oven (400F) for 30 to 35 minutes until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom of the loaf.

Remove from pans immediately and brush tops with a little butter to make them deliciously shiny.  Cool on a rack. This bread will keep well for a couple of days (no preservatives!) or you can freeze it in foil or zipper bags and take it out as you need it.

To warm before serving, put in a 350F oven for 5 minutes or so. Makes excellent toast!

7 responses to “Old-Fashioned Porridge Bread

  1. I’m in and will be making this this week! Thanks! D

  2. I have the same Purity cookbook which was my Mother’s. I made the Porridge Bread using half whole wheat flour and 1 tbsp wheat germ per cup of flour. Bread was delicious!

  3. That looks so good! I’ve been baking bread for years, but I’ve never made buns like that. They look fantastic. Another item for my to-try list!

    • They’re great – kids love to be able to pull them apart and choose whether they want one with “extra crust” (outside) or hardly any (middle). And if you drizzle with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon before baking, they make an amazing dish for brunch or a coffee party (although probably not the most calorie-conscious!)

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