In a small bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups warm water and yeast, and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a measuring cup, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup water and molasses.
In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and oil and add molasses and yeast mixtures, stirring until combined well.
Stir in enough of remaining 3-4 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, for mixture to form a soft dough and turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead dough 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, and shape into a ball (it may be a bit sticky at this point, but will be easy to handle after rising). (I let my KitchenAid handle the mixing and kneading.).
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
Punch down dough and let rise, covered 45 more minutes.
Divide dough in half, lightly knead each piece and form into ovals. Transfer loaves to greased loaf pans (8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 inches) and let rise, covered with kitchen towels, 45 minutes.
During the final rise, preheat oven to 400°F.
Brush tops of loaves lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with oats (or whatever you choose:) Bake loaves in middle of oven 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake loaves 20-25 minutes more, or until golden brown.