My paternal grandmother was a fabulous cook and baker, and some of her baked goods were legendary. However, I do not ever remember her baking bread- it was always pies or cookies. Even my dad couldn't recall her baking bread. But she must have, because she was born in 1903 and started keeping house in the 1920s, when it was not likely she bought bread at a store. Since this recipe uses some archaic ingrediants, I am going to assume it is from that period before my dad was born (1937) or from the war years when she couldn't get sugar or butter. She also moved from rural Lancaster County out to urban Pittsburgh about that time, so it seems likely that was the end of her bread baking.
This recipe was published in the Lititz Moravian Church (of which she was a member after she moved back from P'burgh in the 50s) cook book about 30 years ago. I was actually paging through the cookbook looking for something else when I saw this, and thought I'd give it a go:
Add the yeast-water mix. (This is one of my favorite kitchen smells- yeast working.)
While that was rising, I prepared 3 loaf pans, by greasing them and dusting them with oatmeal- you need to add a lot of grease or the oatmeal won't coat it.
But they baked up into cute little loaves, that had a very distinctive taste. The molasses tang is definitely there, but the oatmeal somehow disappears into the rest of the flour. It's certainly not a sweet bread; more of a sandwich bread. I did end up giving a loaf away along with a jar of homemade marmalade to the neighbor who plowed our driveway that same day, and I think that would be about a perfect taste pairing.