First of all you need two bread pans. The measurements should be 9"x5"x3".'
Each morning before breakfast I put the rolled oats in a large bread bowl, and pour the boiling water over it. It stands there while I get breakfast. About one-half hour later it will be still warm, and this is important. It will have softened up and all the little separate oats will have blended together. Now you are ready to begin.
Step one is to soak the yeast. Pour it out of the packageds on the top of the luke warm water. Let stand five minutes or so. Meanwhile you've other things to do . Add to the soaked oats the salt, molasses, butter, and special ingredients of the day, (see notes) if any.
By now the yeast has grown and is ready. Stir , and add it to the above mixture. Next add and stir in the first 2 cups of flour, then 2 more cups. The second 2 may be a little difficult to blend but they will gradually merge. The last 2 you knead in.
One of the most fun things I know is kneading bread. You can feel the bounce of the dough; the yeast turns it elastic, and it purely lives in your hands and grows as you work it. Here is how you do this kneading, and it is not one bit difficult. Leave the dough in the large bowl. Roll up your sleeves. Scatter half a cup of flour on top of the dough. With the heel of you hand, press into the dough-one quick firm press, Then with your fingers get hold of and shift it around in the bow., sometimes turning it over. As the flour you are working with gradually merges into the bread, add more, and continue kneading until the las 2 cups of flour are in. This might take ten minutes or five. If the dough is still very sticky, add a little more flour.
When the flour is all worked in, shape the dough into a mound in the center of the bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and leave for several hours. The convenient part of this bread is that one hour more or less of rising doesn't matter, so you can go about your business. As it begins to rise a lovely smell spreads over the house, a sent more subtle than that of bread baking but equally nice. I'd suggest you let the dough rise about 2 hours in average-warm room. No added heat from the stove is necessary. I can't say why but ours always rises faster on clear, sunny days.
When the dough has risen to about two times the size it was when you finished kneading and is gently lifting the covering cloth. You are ready for the next step.
Cut it down with a knife, which seem unfair after all its work of rising! But willy-nilly, cut back and forth a half dozen times through the cough while, like a punctured balloon, it subsides into never quite its original size but near it.
Now divide and place into the two well greased read pans, shaping the dough out at the ends, to cover entirely the bottom of the pans. Let the dough be fairly level and smooth on top. Cover and let it rise again. This time it comes up more quickly. In perhaps an hour or so it will rise into the lovely shape of the loaf you wish it to have in the end, the top delicately rounded.
Put it in the oven at 325 degrees, on a rack about four inches from the bottom. Bake for 50 minutes. If you have forgotten to turn the oven on, no matter; set in a cold oven, turning the gauge to 325 degrees and bake 60 minutes. Either way is successful. This baking time is when the fragrance reaches it's peak of delight. Ask a friend for tea just to sit there beside your glowing fire, with the bread baking.
can be made by adding one of the following (1) 1 cup seedless raisins (2) herbs: 1/2t dried parsley, 1t dried basil, 1/2 t anise seed, 2t dried summer savory, 1/4t powdered thyme (3) herbs: 2t leaf sage, crumbled; 1t leaf marjoram, crumbled; 1/2 t caraway seed (4) 3/4 cup citron, dried fruits and peels (5) 1/2 cup orange marmalade and only 1/4 cup molasses I, Nancy, use honey most often because it is a staple in our house. I have used (cooked) wheatberry, have substituted up to 1/2 of the flour with whole wheat flour, and really like to use unbleached flour the best. I have found one of the most remembered gifts is bread straight from the oven and over the fence.