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Microwave the oats and water for 4 or 5 minutes on high, or cook the oats in boiling water until thickened, about 3 minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, and allow to cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water until dissolved, and allow to proof. It is ready when small bubbles have risen to the surface. Add this mixture plus the warm milk, salt, and brown sugar to the oats and mix well. Then stir in 4 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time and combine well after each addition. Turn out the mixture onto a floured board and knead until it becomes a smooth, pliable, and elastic dough. You may have to add as much as ½ to 1 cup of additional flour to get it to the right feel. (This will take about 10 minutes.) Incorporate the raisins at this time.
Shape the dough into a ball, put into a well-buttered bowl, and turn to coat on all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Punch the dough down. Knead for 2 or 3 minutes and shape into two loaves. Thoroughly butter two 8 x 4 x 2-inch tins. Place the dough in the tins, cover, and let rise in a warm place until about even with the top of the tins, or almost doubled in bulk. This should take another 1½ to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Place the bread in the center of the lowest rack, and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on top and bottom with the knuckles. Remove the loaves from the tins and put them directly on the oven rack to bake for about 5 minutes and acquire a firmer crust. Remove the loaves to a rack and cool. If you want a very soft top crust, brush the loaves with melted butter when you bring them out of the oven.
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