Oatmeal Rum Raisin Bread

Mostly savory with a touch of sweetness from the raisins, this humble little loaf began its life in 1939.

Thumbing through an old cookbook from 1939 “The New England Yankee Cookbook” I came across an oatmeal bread recipe, simple in ingredients, and it made four loaves! Although I love my usual oatmeal bread (recipe here) I’m always on the lookout for other bread recipes and I thought I’d give this one a try.

Since it used whole oats, and since I had a fresh bag of wholegrain spelt flour sitting in the pantry, I thought I would modify the recipe a little, well really a lot, and eliminate the white flour. I also cut the recipe in half, substituted butter for the lard, and added raisins. The recipe also suggested using either water or milk, so I used plain water.

The result was a lovely loaf with great texture and flavor. It was delicious buttered, and also smeared with regular or dairy-free cream cheese!

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Bread

Makes two loaves

  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup dark rum (Meyers)
  • 2 cups boiling water (or milk)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter or vegan butter
  • 2 ¼ tsp. dry active yeast (1 pkt.)
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 4 cups whole grain spelt flour, about

Put the raisins in a small bowl and add the rum. The rum should just about cover the raisins. Let sit for one hour so they plump.

Boil the water and pour over the oats and butter in a large bowl. Let this sit for an hour as well.

Combine the yeast with the lukewarm water and let stand 10 minutes.

Add the molasses and salt to the oats and mix well. Then add the yeast mixture, mix again, and start adding the flour a cup at a time, beating vigorously, and reserving a cup. The dough will be quite sticky.

Add the raisins and a couple of tablespoons of the rum. Turn onto a floured board and with floured hands and a bench scraper, knead the bread, adding a little of the last cup of flour at a time until combined.

Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise until double in bulk, about an hour and a half.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, divide into two, and place in greased loaf pans. Cover again and let rise until doubled. 

Bake at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes. The dough will not rise much more at this point. 

When browned and sounds hollow when tapped, the bread is done. Remove pans and let cool on wire racks.

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40 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for this recipe, Dorothy. My mother will like this.

    1. You’re welcome! I was pleased with how it came out, even halving the recipe!

  2. BERNADETTE says:

    Dorothy, I am dreaming of this bread with a cup of coffee in my robe.

  3. Julie Knott says:


    1. We really enjoyed this bread!

  4. picpholio says:

    Looks delicious Dorothy 🙂

    1. Thank you! The raisins add a nice little bit of interest.

  5. I would love to have a slice of this bread right now! Love the pairing of rum and raisins (one of my favorites) in it. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! It is a lovely flavor combination and worked well in this old-time bread.

      1. Love such old recipes. I often use oats in breads, so will give this one a try soon. 🙂

      2. Aren’t they great! Tried and true, and often simple in their ingredients and approach. Love oats in bread too!

  6. Stew Read says:


    1. It was good indeed!

  7. Suzassippi says:

    That is beautiful bread, and I would love it…but I cannot see myself working this much to make it, so I will just enjoy looking at yours. 🙂

    1. Well, I’ll save you a slice!

  8. Dolores Breen says:

    Hi Dot. This looks scrumptious. I’ve made oat bread but this is quite different. What do you recommend as a substitute for the spelt flour??? Thanks. Dee

    1. Hi Dee! Since the spelt flour was whole grain, I think I’d go with King Arthur’s white whole wheat as a substitute. You can also use white flour which is what the original recipe used.

  9. I love these old time recipes. This looks delicious and wholesome.

    1. It really was good Judy, and I’ll probably make it again!

  10. Ooh. Let me grab a my morning cuppa joe. ☕️🍃

    1. Perfect companion!

  11. I’m not a big fan of raisins, but if there’s rum involved I might change my mind!

    1. Ah, dark rum too!

  12. Ally Bean says:

    This bread looks healthy. Even with rum in it.

    1. It is pretty healthy, and I have to think the alcohol bakes off, leaving just the flavor.

  13. nancyc says:

    This bread sound wonderful–love those vintage recipes! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I like them too, often I learn something really fun along the way.

  14. Oh yes mail me an entire loaf please. Lol

    1. I guess I’ll have to make the full four-loaf batch!

  15. petespringerauthor says:

    Looks incredibly moist! Raisins add so much flavor to many recipes. I’m not going to complain about the rum, either. 😎

    1. I think the raisins do help keep this moist. In a lot of the old bread recipes, such as Boston Brown Bread, they added a few raisins for moisture even though the breads were savory and not sweet.

  16. Oh yum! Reblogging!

    1. Thank you! I’m honored!

  17. I would not say no to a slice of this – trade you for the carrot cake? 😉

    1. You’re on! I love them both!

  18. POOJA PANDIT says:

    The loaf looks amazing!

  19. cakefiles says:

    Wow it looks delicious, I really need to try this. I am saving this!!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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