Oatmeal brown bread recipe is cold weather comfort food

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This is my mom’s oatmeal brown bread recipe

Oatmeal brown bread is cold weather comfort food. It’s just right alongside baked beans or a hearty stew, or toasted with butter and jam, or may be drizzled with molasses. Like many Maritimers I grew up eating fresh-baked brown bread with supper on Saturday night, smeared with butter and dipped in something warm.

This recipe came from my aunt Nana back in the late 1960’s. She was a transplanted New Brunswicker living outside of Montreal. The recipe was given to her by a next door neighbour who just happened to be from New Brunswick too.

What are the chances? Two transplanted New Brunswickers living next door to one another in a suburb of Montreal, sharing recipes for comfort food from back home.

I love this recipe.  You don’t need to proof the yeast and there is no kneading involved so as far as breads go it’s quick and easy to mix up. I think it was the first yeast bread I ever made.

Is homemade bread your comfort food?

Easy oatmeal brown bread recipe is easy and flavourful thanks to molasses.

Oatmeal brown bread recipe

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 6 cups flour


  1. In a large bowl combine butter, salt and rolled oats.
  2. Pour the 2 cups of boiling water over the rolled oats mixture. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. In a small bowl combine the 1 cup warm water and sugar. Stir in yeast then add to the cooled oat mixture.
  4. Mix in molasses.
  5. Gradually add flour. (You may need to turn the dough out onto the counter to incorporate the final cup or two of flour.)
  6. Divide dough in half, shape into loaves and place in two greased loaf pans.
  7. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise until doubled in bulk (about 1.5 hours, but really depends on how warm your kitchen is).
  8. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes to an hour, until loaves sound hollow when tapped.
  9. Remove from pans to cool.

112 thoughts on “Oatmeal brown bread recipe is cold weather comfort food

  1. Angela says:

    This is the best brown bread recipe I have ever had. I love that I forgot I had some rolls left and after 4 days there were still so fresh. Tastes like it did when I was a kid. Definitely a favorite in our house

    1. Hi Angela, This recipe is a favourite in our house too. Also, I never thought to use the dough to make rolls. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Maggie says:

    Your old reciepes are no longer on your website??? I loved the cornbread and molasses brown bread – any chance you’ll load them again? I never printed them expecting these oldies-but-goodies to always be there!! Help!

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Maggie, We’re in the process of moving to a new site and are working through some lumps and bumps. You’ll find all of our old recipes at http://www.grandmamolasses.com. If you’re having trouble please email me bridget.oland@crosbys.com and I’ll ensure you get what you’re looking for. Sorry.

  3. Natasha says:

    Great thanks! Here’s my blog if you want to check it out : ) http://www.natasharosesmusings.blogspot.com

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Natasha, You have a great blog, and I log that it’s local.

  4. Natasha says:

    Hi Bridget- do you mind if I post this recipe on my blog? I will give the link to your blog and make sure I put crosbys molasses…..

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Natasha, You’re welcome to share the recipe on your blog. Standard practice is to not include the method on your site and instead link back to the original site for the method. I hope that works for you. Thanks.

  5. valerie says:

    hi , can I mix this in my kitchen aid , I find it hard to mix breads. and do I use the dough hook after mixing like other breads. or just mix and put in the pan. thanks. looking forward to trying this.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Valerie, Yes, go ahead and use the dough hook on your mixer, just like for other breads.

  6. Natasha says:

    Hi there! I just made this bread and it turned out awesome- so easy and soooo moist- we have eaten half a loaf since it came out an hour ago! We are down here on deer island and I was pleased to see it was a “local” recipe : ) Thank-you for sharing!

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Natasha, I’m so pleased that you liked it. Gotta love easy yeast bread recipes, especially in winter.

  7. Gail says:

    I have never made bread before, white or brown and this bread was so easy to make and tasted really good!! So happy I found this receipe.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Gail, I’m so pleased that you discovered this recipe. I warn you though, you might be hooked on homemade bread forever!

  8. Sheila says:

    Almost same recipe but I used shredded wheat in the recipe. Use the oats now

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Sheila,
      I have heard of shredded wheat in bread. Do you prefer the oats?

  9. Dawn Bovingdon says:

    I have been looking for this recipe for a long time. I am originally from Fredericton, NB and was given this recipe by a co-worker. I know I made it a lot but when we moved I lost it. When I made it, instead of using bread pans, I used juice cans.(Apple or Tomatoe). Just make sure to grease well! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Dawn, How great that you have rediscovered an old favourite. I love the idea of baking it in juice cans…very festive.

  10. Debra says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe, I have made it 3 times now, and every time is was excellent. I normally make a double batch, and it makes 7 good size loaves which lasts our family for the week, if not passing it out to family and friends. 🙂

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Debra, I’m thrilled that you’re making such good use of this recipe!

  11. Mark says:

    Is the dough suppose to be really sticky? Seemed like it needed more flour, but have only ever made double rising bread. I added a bit extra but didn’t want to ruin it…it is not baked yet, so I can’t tell if it is okay or not.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Did the recipe work out alright for you? Sometimes I need a bit more flour, but not much.

  12. chantell says:

    Thanks for the recipe. Im in the process of making it as we speak :))) I did use a mixture of rice flour, whole wheat & white… hopefully it turns out!

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Chantell, Great idea to use a variety of flours. Let me know how it turns out.

  13. Lisa says:

    Not sure if it was because I used black strap molasses or what, but 2/3 Cup of molasses is way, WAY too much for this recipe! I’d probably cut that amount in 1/2 at least, if not more. Even 1/4 cup would suffice!

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Lisa,
      Blackstrap would definitely make a huge difference in this recipe since it’s so robust, a little bitter and not very sweet. I agree, 2/3 of a cup is perfect if you’re using Fancy Molasses but 1/4 cup it always my limit when using blackstrap or cooking molasses in any recipe. On the bright side, your bread made with blackstrap is incredibly nutritious.

  14. Kayla says:

    Fantastic recipe, This bread has a small level of sweetness to it from the molasses but it blends in so nicely. Loved it, it’s a nice and thick hearty bread that goes well with a soup!

    1. Bridget says:

      Thanks Kayla, I’m glad you liked it. I’ll be sure to let my mom know too, since it’s the recipe I grew up with.

  15. micheline says:

    these recipes are awesome thanks for shareing

  16. MW says:

    Amazing! The first batch was a huge hit. I used oats and some 12 grain cereal for a little multigrain feel. Today I am going to try this with a little less molassses (sorry, Grandma Molasses :))… just for a change and slighlty less sweet bread, which I think would be better for sandwhiches.

    1. Bridget says:

      I love how this recipe is so adaptable. I really enjoy hearing about the different ways people make this bread their own.

  17. stephanie says:

    I am about to put a batch in the oven to have for Sunday dinner…Homemade beans, homemade meatballs, potato salad, and macaroni salad… Most likely will add a cake for dessert…Can’t wait to taste test it..

    1. Bridget says:

      Wow Stephanie, I’d like to have supper at your house! I hope you enjoyed the bread.

  18. Heather &Dave Shedden says:


    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Heather,
      I don’t think you could substitute self rising flour since it uses baking powder as a levening agent. But I do have a couple of recipes on this blog for non-yeast brown bread. Here’s a link

  19. Heidi says:

    Put it together today, went snowshoeing for an hour, now I am going to bake it. We are having it with homemade seafood chowder which includes lobster caught by us, clams dug by my husband, Jim, scallops shucked by us and some haddock. Really what more could we ask for. I will let you know later how the bread and rolls turned.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Heidi,
      Wow, I’m so envious. Your chowder sounds so delicious and ultra homemade. I took a look at your rental cottages and they got me longing for summer. We have been meaning to take our kids to Deer Island so maybe 2013 will be the year.

  20. Kathy says:

    I also used half whole wheat flour and half white.

    1. Bridget says:

      Mmmm, great substitution!

  21. Kathy says:

    It’s rising now. Can’t wait to taste. Being a Newfie, I love sweet bread.,I added raisins to mine just for the extra texture.will post on results when I try it to taste.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Kathy, Sounds delicious, expecially with the whole wheat flour. I hope that it worked out well!

  22. Muqia says:

    Hey, just wondering if I can mix this up in my kitchen aid if it would matter?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Muqia, I have never tried making bread with my mixer but I don’t see why you couldn’t give it a try. It wouldn’t need much mixing though since the only kneading required is to incorporate the last of the flour. If you try it could you let me know? Thanks!

  23. Julie gouley says:

    Can you half the recipe successfully. I just want to make one loaf

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Julie, I have never made a half batch of this bread but I’m sure it would work just fine.

  24. Sue says:

    Hi, Don’t know that we can get the Fancy Molasses in the UK. Can we substitute anything else?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Sue,
      If you’re willing to experiment a bit you could try a 3:1 ratio of Lyle’s Golden Syrup and blackstrap molasses or you could try a dark treacle. It won’t have the same tang of fancy molasses but it’ll get you close. Good luck!

  25. heather marie says:

    sounds like dessert to me – delicious!

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Heather,
      I know what your mean…slathered with butter and a drizzle of molasses….mmmm

  26. Shelley says:

    Have you tried this in a breadmaker at all? Any modifications needed?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Shelley,
      I haven’t tried it in a bread machine but I found this article that helps with adapting recipes for bread makers. Here’s the link: http://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking_and_desserts/how_to_adapt_a_recipe_for_the_bread_machine.php
      Good luck!

  27. Janet Kroetch says:

    Can you use potato starch instead of flour. I’ve been buying a gluten free bread that contains potato starch and millet and wonder if you could substitute.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Janet,
      Hmmm, I’m not sure if potato starch would be enough. It seems to me that a lot of gluten free breads have a xanthan gum mixed in but I’m not sure of the proportions. All that to say, I’m just a newbie in the gluten-free baking world. Sorry I can’t be of much help.

    2. gisele says:

      Hello answering this lady about gluten free bread it is a mixture of different flours ta make this bread e-mail me if you want and I will send you the recipe I do have it.

      1. Thank you Gisele! I’ll email you this morning.

  28. Carol Amero says:

    I have been making this recipe for years…and it is so good….and so easy to make….my family loves it and I serve it to company who look forward to eating it when they come to our home…..awesome recipe

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Carol,
      I love that this is an old family recipe of yours too! There’s nothing better than a slice of homemade bread…

  29. Kay Card says:

    I just found this recipe but it sure looks good and I plan to make it .Thank you

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Kay,
      It’s a good one. Enjoy!

  30. Storm says:

    When I get home I will experiment with combos of spelt and kamut flour. I can’t do wheat. I’m originally from N.S., brought back memories seeing this! Do you know what this brand of molasses is prduced from? Is it sugar cane, sugar beets or some combo of the two? I don’t do sugar beet products, it’s mostly GMO. 🙁

    1. Bridget says:

      You’ll be happy to know that our molasses is made from sugar cane and is certified GMO free.

  31. deb says:

    Awesome bread really tasty. Any herb suggestions ,?

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Deb, Adding an herb is a great suggestion. I’m a big fan of herbes de Provence so would probably try that (I add it to my pizza dough).

  32. Mollydolly says:

    This is the same recipe I have used in years,in fact I do believe the original crosbys molasses plant is in our city,still operating. When I make it I throw i/2 cuo cornmeal in the oatmeal mixture,,,it gives it a nice texture

    1. Bridget says:

      What a great idea…I love cornmeal!

  33. Looks great! Can I use the small packets of active dry yeast instead?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Sandra,
      Yes, a packageo of yeast usually equals 1 Tbsp.

  34. Ann Marie says:

    A must try for me. Best breadmakers come from New Brunswick. Was down there visiting in my youth and got to try some homemade bread. This lady verbally told me her recipe that I – today use and bake for her five great grandchildren.All adults now. Thanks for your loving kindness r.i.p. Pearl (from Ludlow) New Brunswick I’m from Ontario

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Ann Marie, I’m curious, is the recipe that you bake similar to this brown bread recipe?

  35. Carol O'Reilly says:

    I am a New Brunswicker, live in Saint John. I cannot wait to try your recipe…have been searching for a tried and true recipe for a very long time! Thank you.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Carol,
      This has been my family’s favourite for decades so I hope it’s what you’re looking for.

  36. Jeannou says:

    I will try this right now. Look delicious!
    Will let you know how it’ turn.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Jeannou,
      I’d love to hear how it turns out! Enjoy.

  37. Margie says:

    Just curious….can this be modified for the bread machine?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Margie,
      I have never adapted a recipe for a bread machine but I found this article on Canadian Living that might be helpful http://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking_and_desserts/how_to_adapt_a_recipe_for_the_bread_machine.php
      Good luck!

  38. Nancy says:

    Hi, I can’t wait to try this. I am wondering though if you use white sugar or brown sugar.. I am thinking white as it’s not specified.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Nancy,
      I use white sugar but brown sugar would work too.

  39. cathy says:

    is it white flour or brown

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Cathy, You could use all purpose white or a whole white flour in the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

  40. jackie savage says:

    Hi, I’m wondering if I should leave the dry yeast, sugar and warm water sit for a while before adding anything to it…

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Jackie, For this recipe there is no need to soften the yeast in the water. Just mix them together than move to the next step. It`s part of what makes the recipe quick and easy…no 10 minute wait to proof the yeast!

  41. Jean says:

    Hi I am wondering if you need to use 2 tsp. of salt or can you use no salt.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Jean — I believe that salt is an important part of making the bread rise properly. Here’s a bit of info I found that better explains it: “Salt is used in most bread recipes to control the rate of fermentation and to give flavour. The presence of salt in a dough inhibits fermentation, which strengthens the developing gluten. This results in a bread with a stable crumb, a long shelf-life and more taste than breads without it.” That said, you could try reducing the salt a bit and see if you still like the texture and taste of the bread. Good luck.

  42. Brenda Norwood says:

    Would bread machine yeast be the same as dry yeast?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Brenda — I have a feeling bread machine yeast is a little different. This is the conversion info that I found…”To substitute instant or bread machine yeast for active dry yeast, use 25% less instant yeast than active dry yeast.” Good luck!

  43. Heather Coulson says:

    Yesterday I just made the Oatmeal Bread from the first book…it seemed SO batter like for the first rising that I added 1 more full cup of flour and then before kneading it i added another 1.5 cups because it was so sticky. However, it turned out to be the best loaf of bread I have ever made!! Beautiful sofr texture and loaded with flavour! Thanks!

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Heather — Thanks for the feedback on the oatmeal bread. We put the recipe in our new book too so I have made a note to test it.

  44. Charlee says:

    I have instant yeast,can I use that in place of dry yeast? And how or when would I add it to the mix?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Charlee, Hmm, I’m not sure exactly how to swap instant for regular yeast but this is what I found on line: in substituting instant yeast for active dry yeast, it generally accepted that you would use 25% less of the instant. Good luck!

  45. sheila says:

    what size pans do you use

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Sheila — I have never measured them but they’re on the large size.

  46. Maxine Townsley says:

    I love raisins in my brown bread. |Is it okay and how much is allowed?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Maxine,
      I’d start with 1 – 11/2 cups. It should still rise and bake fine. Good luck!

  47. Heather Coulson says:

    Will be trying this one today!!! Love it when you don’t need to double rise it!!! Much quicker!

    1. Bridget says:

      I hope that you enjoy it!

  48. Ceci says:

    I started making this bread a gzillion years ago. It is STILl my go-to recipe when winter arrives, as it seems to have done this morning.

    1. Bridget says:

      I know what you mean. As soon as the snow flies it’s on my mind.

  49. donna marie smith says:

    You mean you don’t let it rise before panning it. First time I seen a recipe like this..

    1. Bridget says:

      I know, that’s why it’s so easy. Just one rising.

    2. Carole MacInnis says:

      I proof my bread in my oven, if you don’t have a proofing setting on your oven. Turn the oven on to 200 degrees, once heated turn the oven off; open the door to let the initial heat out, then put your bread in the oven let it rise. Remove it once it has double in bulk, heat your oven to the desired cooking temp. Put your bread in the oven and cook as per the recipe states. This prevents your bread getting a cold ‘draft” while rising.

      1. What a great tip Carole. It will sure speed up the process when baking bread during the winter. Thanks for sharing.

  50. Karen Munro says:

    this is a familiar recipes except I use an egg and oil..But I will try it ,yummy!

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Karen, May be I’ll try adding an egg to my recipe…

  51. Cindy T. says:

    Looks good, but can I substitute whole wheat flour without changing anything else ?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Cindy,
      Yes, you should be able to substitute whole wheat flour without a problem. You might want to try it first half and half, to see if you like the texture, and then go from there.

    2. Valerie Martin says:

      >i have been looking for a brown bread receipe for a long time and i dont think ontario people knows what we are talking about when we say brown they think we mean whole wheat thanks a bunch will make next week on my day off i will let you know what i think ok

      1. Bridget says:

        Dear Valerie, I would love to hear what you think about the recipe. Hopefully it’ll be exactly what you have been looking for.

  52. Nancy says:

    My printer is not working right now..so I C/P and e-mailed to myself..minus the pics..sounds delicious and might give it a try..thanks for sharing!!

  53. Linda says:

    Are you saying to pour the oat mixture into the boiling water? Or is it opposite?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Linda — you pour the boiling water over the oat mixture. Thanks for flagging that it isn’t clear. I’ll update the wording.

    2. Glorai says:

      I’ve been looking for a good brown bread receipe and tried this one got started but didn’t check my flour supply I was 2 cups short so I hunted through my supplies and found Bran & some Allran cereal put a cup of each in to replace the flour I was short and baked it off. It was the most moist bread I’ve tasted in guite a while. I think someone in your test kitchen should give it a mix up.

      1. Bridget says:

        What a great discovery! As you suggested, I’m going to play with the recipe a bit. I love the idea of adding bran.(I had a note from someone else who added flax to this recipe with great success).

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