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There is a backstory to this recipe, which is that for YEARS and YEARS and YEARS, if anyone we knew traveled to the Oregon Coast, we begged them to bring back ten loaves of Molasses Bread from the Otis Cafe. Even with phone calls and questions, the bakery would have no part in releasing the recipe to me or anyone else for that matter.
Rachel’s friend Hayley, in particular, was the currier of this bread, and several years ago I started a massive Google search to find a recipe that would approximate this bread. Most had whole wheat flour, sourdough starter, yeast, wheat flour….it was a process, and not knowing a thing about what was really in there or how much I needed to have a sourdough starter, I wasn’t that motivated to start from scratch to create this brown bread.
I would freeze the purchased loaves and guard them with my life, removing them from the freezer one by one for very special occasions. I hoarded this bread because it was perfect in my eyes…molassey, not too sweet, just wonderful and very, very different.
AND THEN, Rachel’s husband brought home a Sunset Magazine. There it was, a recipe in “The West’s Best Food Trips.” And it looked “right” to me. (Of course, I made a few tweaks.) And easy. And I had every single ingredient here already, so it was meant to be.
Otis Molasses Bread
Makes one 2-pound loaf
- Oil or butter for the bread pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 ⅔ cups buttermilk or kefir
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup blackstrap molasses
- About ½ tsp soft butter to brush on the top after it comes out of the oven
Preheat oven to 325 F, and grease a 4 x 8 or 5 x 9 inch bread pan
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
In a glass bowl or large four cup pyrex measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk or kefir, egg and molasses. I did some research, and kefir is a perfect substitute for buttermilk.
Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir together with a spatula just until combined. It’s very thick, sticky and a bit difficult to stir. Do not overbeat. The batter is really really thick and hard to mix…Scoop into the prepared bread pan, even out the top with an oiled knife.
Bake about 55-60 min (mine just took 55 minutes) until the center tests done with a toothpick. Cool on a rack five minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool. Excellent warm, room temperature or toasted. With butter, of course.
I used kefir since this was spontaneous decision to bake – Rachel found the recipe and texted it to me and the loaf was in the oven less than an hour later. Fortunately, I had all the ingredients on hand.
I did brush the top of the loaf after it cooled for 15 minutes with about a half a teaspoon of soft butter so it would be shinier. The original recipe said to run an offset spatula around the perimeter of the loaf before removing it from the pan, but my newish bread pan released the loaf no problem. (Use a pan for a one pound loaf. It is anodized steel and I bought two after making Babka with Kal)
My verdict: excellent recipe, very close to the original, just not as dark in color. Maybe they use more molasses? Burned sugar? The truth is that this tasted so great I hate to mess around with the recipe, so I’ll leave it as is. It might not be an exact replica, but it’s close enough for me.
WOWZA this tasted great. We cut into it after cooling for just 20 minutes Five slices later… well, you get the picture.
AND finally, I can just hear some of you saying “I am not a baker.” OK, but this is a seven-ingredient, quick bread that you stir together by hand You can do this!