Oatmeal Bread

Around the world, people have adapted to making bread with what they have – what’s on hand, and what is inexpensive. Wheat flour is often imported or scarce and there are less expensive, local options that on their own do not result in great bread. Oats (in Scotland), corn meal (in NE of the United States), rice (in Asia), yucca (in Latin America/Carribean), or potatoes (in Ireland) would have stretched out the wheat flour, making two loaves in the place of one.

Oatmeal Bread

Jane Mason
This "Maritmers' bread" originates, in Canada, in the Eastern, or Atlantic provinces. The early settlers included Scottish people who brought their food with them – including oats and oat bread.  Oats would have been the cheap filler in the bread, making the more expensive wheat flour go farther.
Don't be fooled. This is delicious and nutritious bread: simple, hearty, and satisfying…a real "stick to your ribs" bread; perfect for a long day at sea. The recipe was first published in my book, All You Knead Is Bread.
Cook Time 45 mins
Soak oatmeal 12 hrs
Total Time 45 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Canadian, Nordic


  • bowls, scale, bread tins


  • 1 Big mug Porridge oats As unrefined as you can get them
  • 1 Big mug Boiling water
  • 1 tbsp Lard or butter
  • 1 tbsp Molasses or honey
  • 6 g Salt
  • 300 grams strong white or whole meal wheat flour you can use a mixture of the two if you like
  • 200 grams Water room temperature
  • 1.5 grams Instant yeast or 3 g dry yeast or 6 g fresh yeast


The night before you want to bake

  • Measure the oats into a bowl and pour over the boiling water.
  • Stir in the lard, salt, and molasses.
  • Cover and let sit until the morning.

When you want to bake the next day

  • Measure the water into a bowl.
  • Add the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes to dissolve.
  • Add the flour and the oat mixture and get it together in the bowl. Turn it out on the counter and knead well for 10 minutes. It will be very sticky and that is ok. If you are using a mixer, knead for 10 minutes on the lowest speed. Do not add more flour.
  • Pop it back in the bowl and then cover it and let it rest for 1-2 hours until it has at least doubled in size.
  • Grease one big bread tin or two smaller ones – you want to fill the tin(s) about 2/3 full. Pop a little handful of oats in the tin(s) and shake the tin around to get the oats to stick to the bottom and the sides.
  • Heavily flour the counter and get a bowl of water handy to wet your hands. Pull the dough out and, using a scraper and wet hands, shape the dough into a tight sausage (or two, if you are using two tins) and place the dough in the tin(s). Try not to incorporate more flour into the dough – you just need the flour to prevent the dough from sticking too much to the counter. Cover the tins with a light tea towel and let the dough rest for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Spray the top of the dough with a plant sprayer and sprinkle some oats on the top. Spray the tops again to make sure the oats stick. Pop the dough in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the bread from the oven and then take it out of the tin(s). Let the bread cool on a wire rack. It keeps for ages and is excellent toasted.
Keyword Bread, Canadian bread, Scottish bread
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