Sarah’s Molasses Brown Bread

Molasses Brown Bread, a sweet and chewy oatmeal brown bread richly flavoured with molasses

I’m one of the bloggers participating in The Canadian Food Experience Project, a national program that’s helping to identify (or at least add clarity to) a Canadian food identity. This month’s task is to write about a regional Canadian food.

So, I have a question for you…

If I was to put in front of you a plate of homemade cookies, a slice of homemade cake and a loaf of homemade bread that’s just warm enough to melt the butter, which would you choose?

Molasses Brown Bread, a sweet and chewy oatmeal brown bread richly flavoured with molasses

Is there anything better than homemade bread? Anything more satisfying?

Growing up in Southern New Brunswick and anchored by Irish and Acadian roots, homemade bread meant one thing: molasses brown bread. Sure there’s the classic Maritime Brown Bread that’s steamed but I grew up on the sweet and chewy oatmeal brown bread richly flavoured with molasses.

We’d eat it on Saturday night with baked beans, as would half of Atlantic Canada I suspect.

Molasses Brown Bread is still my all-time favourite bread, for me a loaf that can’t be matched in flavour or texture.

It’s an easy yeast bread to make, takes just one rising, and is very forgiving (unlike the Irish).

Molasses Brown Bread, a sweet and chewy oatmeal brown bread richly flavoured with molasses

This recipe came to me from one of our Facebook fans, Sarah Ingalls. It’s similar to my mom’s brown bread recipe only it has more molasses so is a little moister. Sarah called it Three-Hour Brown Bread, which is a pretty accurate description since it’s a cinch to mix up, rises to double in about 1 1/2 hours then goes straight in the oven. I added whole wheat flour to the original recipe and used butter instead of the shortening originally called for.

Enjoy this bread alongside a bowl of Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup or Molasses Baked Beans. It’s great as a mid-morning snack too, no butter necessary since it’s sweet and moist.

Sarah’s three-hour Molasses Brown Bread

Makes two large loaves


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 3/4 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (spooned in)
  • 4 1/2 cups flour (spooned in)


  1. In a small bowl dissolve sugar in warm water and sprinkle over the yeast. Leave for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl mix molasses, rolled oats, butter and salt.
  3. Add 1 cup boiling water, whisk, and then add 1 cup cold water.
  4. Stir in yeast mixture.
  5. Add flour gradually and scrape dough onto a floured surface to knead in the final cup of flour.
  6. Cut dough in half and place in two large bread pans that have been well greased or lined with parchment paper.
  7. Cover each plan with a dishtowel and set in a warm place to rise until almost double in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
  8. Remove dishtowels and bake at 325 F for about an hour
  9. When ready, remove from oven and let cool about five minutes before removing from pans to cook.

What’s a distinctly Canadian food in your region? Do you have a favourite family recipe?

The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.

Here’s my mom’s recipe for Molasses Brown Bread

oatmeal brown bread - Mom's


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Here’s to eating well, everyday,

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