- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (about 110ºF)
- 1/4 cup molasses, divided
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 1/2 cups regular or quick-cooking rolled oats, divided
- 1 cup each boiling water and cold water
- 4 1/2-5 cups unbleached bread flour, unsifted, divided
- 3 tablespoons milk
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 tablespoon of the molasses (reserve the rest for later). Let stand until bubbly and foamy on top, about 15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the butter, remaining molasses, salt, brown sugar, 2 cups of the oats and the boiling water. Stir until the butter melts. Add the cold water and the yeast mixture. Beat in (by hand) 4 cups of flour, one cup at a time.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Knead the dough until smooth, about 10-20 minutes, adding up to one more cup of flour as needed to prevent sticking. You really need to work with the dough – fold it in half, punch it down, etc. The dough should be smooth and elastic and shouldn't stick to the surface when you are finished.
Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.
Punch down the dough and knead again on a lightly floured board to release the air, about 10-15 minutes.
Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a loaf. Place each loaf into a greased 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan. Soften the remaining oats in the milk and dot over the tops of the loaves. Cover the loaves and let rise in a warm place until they double in size, about 45 minutes.
Bake in a 350ºF oven for about an hour, or until light golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when knocked. Turn the loaves onto racks to cool. The bread can be sliced and frozen in an airtight resealable plastic bag for up to one month.