My Mother’s Kitchen: Porridge Brown Bread Recipe

 Have you had your oatmeal this week? If not, you may be interested in today’s recipe—for Porridge Brown Bread, a wonderful bread recipe that is made with quick cooking (not instant) oatmeal.

Growing up we enjoyed mom’s brown bread on Saturday nights with homemade baked beans that had simmered in the oven for most of day. I loved brown bread slathered in margarine and drizzled with molasses.

Molasses was always on our table when I was growing up and we enjoyed it with many of our meals, especially meals such as our Saturday baked beans night. In fact, Saturday bean night was a ritual in our home—one of those constants that helped hold a young family together. No matter if we were outside playing or attending a 4-H meeting at a neighbour’s house or helping out at a church activity we knew that when we came home we would be greeted with the aroma of homemade bread and beans with molasses for our Saturday night supper.

Ready for Church
Here is a group of us, ready for church--I'm the little girl on the far left...

Another Saturday night ritual after our beans and brown bread supper was our weekly baths. This was the fifties and sixties; we didn’t have a shower in our farmhouse so we bathed in a claw-footed bathtub, usually just once a week, on Saturday night, to ensure we were clean and ready for Sunday-school and church the next morning.

Other days we ‘sponge-bathed’ in the bathroom and washed our hair in the porcelain kitchen sink. I remember rinsing my hair by filling a pitcher with water and pouring it over my head, repeating the process with gradually-cooler water until it ran cold enough to make me shiver. That’s when I knew my long hair was squeaky-clean and ready to be wrapped in a towel. The boys in my family got off easy—they had short hair which only needed washing once a week, so didn’t really experience the kitchen sink ordeal; that was saved for my sister and me, and for mom. But I digress…

Do you like baked beans with molasses? Do you like brown bread? Then try this recipe when you have an opportunity; you may just start a new ritual in your family. Hope you enjoy it.

Porridge Brown Bread

1 pkg. yeast
2 Tbsp. white sugar
1 cup rolled oats
5 ½ to 6 cups flour
1 Tbsp. salt
½ cup molasses
2 Tbsp. shortening
1 cup warm water

Dissolve salt, sugar & molasses in cup of water. Scald rolled oats in 1 cup boiling water and add to mixture. Cool slightly. Mix with half of flour. Dissolve yeast in small amount of lukewarm water and add. Add rest of flour & shortening. Let rise 1 ½ hours in covered bowl. Punch down. Shape into loaves & put in greased bread pans. Let rise until double in bulk, and bake in 325° – 350° F oven for approximately 45-55 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool.
Note: Brush top of baked bread with melted butter or shortening if desired.


9 thoughts on “My Mother’s Kitchen: Porridge Brown Bread Recipe

  1. This is the exact same recipe that my mother uses. I have her recipe, but she didn’t include the method with it, so this was a big help. It’s rising as I type. I can’t wait to eat it with homemade baked beans in a few hours. Yum!

  2. Dear Sylvia,
    I’m going to try your porridge brown bread recipe. I’m fairly new at this. How many loaves does this recipe make, may I use brown sugar and how long does it take to double in bulk in the pans ?



    1. Hi Frank–thanks for checking out my blog. If I remember correctly mom used to get two-three loaves from this recipe. I don’t see why you couldn’t use brown sugar if you want, although I haven’t tried it with that, and as far as how long it takes to double in the pan–there are several factors involved there–how warm the room is, what the humidity is, etc, so I can’t give you a definitive answer on that. It should take two or three hours to double generally. Cover the bowl with a cloth to keep the warm air in while the dough is rising.
      Good luck with your bread and please let me know if the brown sugar worked and how your loaves turn out! I’m going to have to make this again now to refresh my memory and will let you know how mine tastes!

  3. Yum. I loved the Bean Dinners we had at Nan’s growing up, either with biscuits or corn muffins (both with lots of molasses).

    And now I’m going to make them with brown bread (even though I’ve never made bread before).

    1. That’s great, Heather–I remember eating many meals at your Nan’s place when I was growing up–she was also a great cook. Let me know how the bread recipe turns out for you!

  4. Thanks for sharing these fabulous memories – I was whisked away back in time and could see you washing your hair in the sink as if I stood there with you. Great imagery! Sounds like a great recipe, too! Will definitely have to give it a try!

  5. Great post!
    Brown Bread is my specialty! I think its the same recipe passed down.

    Its perfect with baked beans on a cold day..mmmm..

    I got a chance to see the old farm house once, but could get a description of the inside, since i couldn’t go in… neat old place, shame to see it sold really..

    Oh, and I have aquired some pieces to add to my tea cup collection, thanks to the baptist pals of Nana Mc. who had given them to my mother on her wedding day. Do you have any good suggestions for easy but cute food for a tea party?

    1. Hmmm….I’ll look for some recipes to share with you…and as for the old farmhouse…I can give you a description of the rooms…right up to the attic where I used to go to check out the antique windows and picture frames….next time you’re in town, come on over to visit and we’ll have a great chin-wag!

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