Oatmeal Bread to Celebrate a Book

April 11th, 2013

I made this bread for a very special reason.  It is to celebrate the publication of my childhood friend, Lyla’s new book.  Lyla taught English for over twenty years.  She taught students from first grade, to high school and college.  She has always been a writer with publications in national magazines like Newsweek, Forbes, and Parents.  A children’s novel that she wrote won a Writer’s Digest Honorable Mention.  She has been working on a mystery for several years now.  You see, she and I grew up reading Nancy Drew and loved the adventures of the intrepid sleuth.  Her new novel, Snoop (A small town gossip mystery), is similar to that genre but with grown up characters.  There are also similarities to our own small town in the book.  It has been a joy for me to read it.

Lyla loves to cook as much as I do so there are numerous references to food in Snoop, although the main character Sam is not much of a cook.  But she knows all of the best take-out places and loves the oatmeal bread that elderly Elli makes and sells to the local restaurant.  When Elli is found brutally murdered, Sam cannot curb her snooping.   After all, Snooping is the name of her column in the local newspaper. This is a great whodunit with a surprise ending.

Lyla and I got together a few years ago in our hometown.  We had not seen each other since junior high school.  She even sent me an 80th Anniversary Limited Edition copy of Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock to commemorate our childhood love of reading the mysteries.  That is why I am so proud of her for following her dreams and writing a mystery of her own.  There will be more in the series too.  If you would like to get a copy of her book you can order it from Amazon here.

Lyla told me that Elli’s famous oatmeal bread recipe was actually a James Beard recipe.  This comes out in book #2 called Deadly Snooping.  She sent me the recipe and I made it yesterday.  It was one of the easiest yeast bread recipes I have ever made because there is limited kneading.  I made David a sandwich with it today and he loved it.  I was happy with the texture and the delightful flavor.  I will be making this bread often.  Thank you Lyla.  Both the bread and the book are delightful.


2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup butter
1 cup boiling water
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1/3 cup molasses
1 tablespoon salt
1 egg
5 1/2 cups all-purpose-flour

Dissolve dry active yeast and sugar in 1 cup lukewarm water.  Let stand 10 minutes, then stir very well.

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; add boiling water, and stir until completely melted.  Add oats, molasses and salt.  Blend thoroughly and cool to lukewarm.  Add egg and beat well.  Add yeast, then fold in flour.

Put the dough in a buttered mixing bowl, turning it so that it is well greased on all sides, then refrigerate for at least two hours – you can leave it for three to four hours.  Turn out the chilled dough on a floured work surface and shape into two loaves.  Place in well-buttered 9 x 5-inch loaf pas, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until double in bulk, about two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake bread for approximately one hour or until the loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when you rap them.  Remove from pans and cool on racks.

Printable recipe

13 responses to “Oatmeal Bread to Celebrate a Book”

  1. Lyla Fox says:

    What a friend you are, Penny. I’m so grateful that you mentioned my book in your celebrated blog and am happy you enjoyed it. I, too, love the bread recipe and though Ellie didn’t tell her friends that it was never her original recipe, your readers now know it–before anyone else. Thanks for continuing to sleuth with me and, more important, thanks for over fifty years of a cherished friend ship. Love.

  2. Pondside says:

    Congratulations to your friend! What an accomplishment!
    When I was growing up my aunt always made oatmeal bread – we called it Porridge Bread and ate it hot with butter and molasses….yummy!

  3. Laura Luth Novak says:

    I am so excited over the publication of Lyla’s book, “Snoop”. I’ve known Lyla, her sister and brothers for many years as we all attended the same high school. Lyla is a remarkable lady. I wish her great success with this book and future publications. I plan to dive the book this weekend. Hugs, Lyla!

    • Lyla Fox says:

      Laura, you too are a fine writer and I’ll look forward to reading your book once you get the grandchildren raised a bit more. Thanks for sharing your quilting expertise. In Snoop, Aggie and her friends are fierce quilters, as you know.

  4. Linderhof says:

    How neat. I adore mysteries — the cozies — and I’ll have to order it! Sounds like a good book and congratulations to your friend. The bread, too, looks wonderful!

  5. Sam Hoffer says:

    Congratulations to Lyla. I love mysteries and this sounds like a good one. And so does that bread. I bet your house smelled divine when it was baking.

  6. Mary Jane Mapes says:

    Lyla is a good friend and has been for years. Love her, her writing, and have bought the book – just waiting for its arrival. Oh, and by the way, she is a great cook, too! Guess it takes one to know one (and I’m referring to YOU, Penny). Thanks for the “delicious” and lovely blog!

    • Lyla Fox says:

      Thanks, Mary Jane. Penny, you probably don’t know this, but Mary Jane is one of the country’s foremost speakers and trainers.

  7. Mary Sullivan says:

    Congrats. to dear friend Lyla – her books sound fun, and that cover is awesome!!

    I really want to try bread baking – haven’t done it in years – and as I love oats this may be the recipe I should try. Thanks for sharing Penny. I’m printing the recipe as we ‘speak’.

    Happy weekend – Mary

  8. Barb Bobik says:

    Congratulations to Lyla on her book. I look forward to reading it as I do love a good mystery & will be fun to see if I can recognize any of the characters. Some day I will try to make the bread, but as you know I’m not much of a cook or baker, but do remember making your recipe for Dill bread??? Always loved it. It would be so nice if Lyla would donate a copy to our District Library & how fitting it would be since the Dogwood Festival is just around the corner. It would be so nice to have her come “back” to her roots & possibly be a speaker. How ironic as I just found an old copy of The Secret of the Old Clock along with another one – who says you have to be young to read & enjoy them!!

    • Lyla Fox says:

      Barb, I grew up riding my bike to the Dowagiac Public Library. You probably don’t remember Helen Boynton but she got me started reading series books. Snoop is the first in a series. I’ll send the book to you and you can do what you need to, okay. Send me your address. I love the Dogwood Festival and am so impressed that Krauss is coming. I’ll probably see you there. I loved The Secret of the Old Clock and The Witch Tree Symbol both.

      • Barb Bobik says:

        After reading Penny’s blog, my 1959 copy of The Secret of the Old Clock was sitting on a stool near my “stitching” chair. It was a dreary weekend, so I indulged myself to re-reading the book & took as much delight in it as I did when I was a young child, curled up on my bed with a copy of the book. The Dogwood Festival is one of my favorites & I was so happy when they finally were able to get Pat Conroy to come & speak. It was a birthday present to myself & was able to go to the meet & greet & have him sign copies of his books. I love the library & was fortunate to have been on their board for over 10 years & love when books can be donated especially by authors from Dowagiac. David donated a couple of his books. You can either send me the book, or drop by the library. Just ask for Kay Gray & mention my name. Who knows, maybe they will arrange for you to come & give a preview of the book or one of your children’s books. My address: 201 Hamilton Street, Dowagiac, MI 49047 if you decide to mail. Thank you & can hardly wait.

  9. linda says:

    Oh Penny, what great memories were brought back by the mention of Nancy Drew. I spent my afternoons at our local library reading as many books as I was allowed to check out at one time. I still have my first editions of many ND mysteries. My first ” grown-up” job was working for the state library driving a bookmobile. My partner on the route introduced me to my husband of 48 years. Books are a good thing!!!!!

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