Oatmeal Bread

James Beard

Author and Educator

“This makes excellent sandwiches and the best toast ever,” wrote James Beard in Beard on Food. It was his favorite bread for making one of his classic snacks, onion sandwiches. To make, top a buttered slice of oatmeal bread with slices of sweet onion, salt, and another slice of buttered bread and press together firmly. He’d serve this with a deviled egg, cold chicken, or a ripe tomato for an easy summer meal.


  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 5 1/2 cups sifted flour


Dissolve dry active yeast and sugar in 1 cup lukewarm water. Let stand for 10 minutes, then stir very well. Cream butter in a large mixing bowl, add boiling water, and stir until completely melted. Add rolled oats, molasses, and salt. Blend thoroughly and cool to lukewarm. Add egg and beat well. Add the yeast, then fold in the flour.

Put the dough in a buttered mixing bowl, turning it so it is well greased on all sides, then refrigerate for at least two hours—you can leave it for three or four hours. Turn out the chilled dough on a floured work surface and shape into two loaves. Place in well-buttered 9 x 5-inch loaf pans, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about two hours.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake bread for approximately one hour, or until the loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when you rap the bottom with your knuckles. Remove from the pans and cool on a rack.


Two loaves