The Surprising Story Behind Our New Favorite Bread
You’ll never believe the origins of this recipe.
When it comes to choosing a recipe, there’s an endless variety of sources to turn to. And while we love cooking through all of our Real Simple recipes (have you seen our new June collection?!), there’s one other place we often find inspiration—the back-of-box recipes on our classic pantry staples.
Not only is there often a sense of nostalgia that accompanies these recipes, but they're so conveniently located it seems silly not to give them a try. My go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe will always be the one on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag of chocolate chips. Others swear by the Swans Down Cake Flour pound cake. The list goes on and on.
One of the most iconic brands to feature recipes on their packaging is Quaker Oats (everyone’s made their Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies at least once). But they do more than just great cookies. Their recipe for Oatmeal Bread is oh so tasty—and, in 1886, it became the first recipe ever to appear on product packaging.
The recipe makes two loaves of sandwich bread, which smell incredible and slice beautifully. It’s great for peanut butter toast, grilled cheese, or simply warmed up, spread with butter, and served alongside dinner. First-time bread makers will appreciate the recipe’s simplicity: the dough is formed with the help of an electric mixer, so all you have to do is knead the dough briefly, then set it aside to rise.
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If you’re up for a challenge, we’ve included the recipe as it was written in 1886 below. You can find the version we used here. Oh, and if you prefer a quick bread, we tried that, too. You can't go wrong with this healthy banana bread recipe (though we suggest whole milk instead of skim).
Quaker Oats Oat Bread Recipe (1886)
For each loaf, soak overnight a sponge of yeast dissolved in a pint of warm water and a cup of sifted flour. In the morning take a cup of Rolled Oats, pour over it a cup of boiling water and set it to stand until nearly cold. Add two teaspoons of melted butter, two tablespoons of sugar, and a pinch of soda. Add all to the sponge and stir in white wheat flour until it is as stiff as can be stirred with a spoon. Let it rise until night, and bake one hour.