Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Boston Brown Bread

Boston Brown Bread:

One cup of sweet milk,

One cup of sour,

One cup of corn meal,

One cup of flour.

Teaspoon of soda,

Molasses one cup;

Steam for three hours,

Then eat it all up.

— Old Yankee Cookbook

Ahhhhh, Boston Brown Bread. A recipe as old as the hills. Of Boston MA, anyway. ;) This is a bread I grew up with and loved passionately for its rich warm flavor. For a child, the fact that it’s cooked in a can is another delightful aspect of it. The cans are placed in a steam bath, and the bread can be cooked in the oven or on a stove top. They do need to be elevated even slightly to keep them off the bottom of the pan you use. Since I had no pan that would accommodate a rack, I used my big Nesco electric roaster. The sides are shaped in such a way that when I set the cans along the edges, they had water flowing underneath. Worked for me! ;)

Oh, and just as a side note, this bread can be made in a regular loaf pan, but, um, why on earth would you do that? Never mind; forget I even said it. Go to your recycling bin and get out 4 aluminum cans, the size of canned veggies. Clean them thoroughly, and afterwards, keep them for the next time you make Boston Brown Bread. I know you’ll want to.

So, let’s get cooking!

Set a large pot of water on to boil in preparation for the cooking process, and choose your kettle or whatever that you’re going to use. If you plan to cook on the stove, make sure the kettle has a cover. If using the oven, this won’t be necessary.

Mix the cornmeal, rye flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl.

Add the raisins and stir to mix and coat well.

Add the buttermilk and dark molasses and mix thoroughly with a whisk.

Take your four cans, which you’ve cleaned well and made sure have no little metal nibs poking out from opening (use a butter knife to flatten against the can), and grease. Do the sides, too. I just used cooking spray and it worked fine.

Pour the batter into the cans, dividing evenly among them. You want to make sure you have about 1 ½ to 2 inches of room at the top of the can, for rising as it bakes.

Cut four squares of aluminum foil to cover the tops. Grease them, then cover.

Place the cans on the rack in the cooking vessel (even crinkled tin foil underneath them will work, as long as they’re stable). Add boiling water so it goes about 2/3 up the cans. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer and steam cook for about two hours. Go do something else. Read a book! Just make sure you check on them and add some boiling water as needed.

When done, remove from the water and allow to cool for about 10 minutes or so. Use a butter knife to go all around the sides of the can to loosen the bread, and then tip the can upside down and shake if needed, to get it to shimmy out.

Slice and serve with butter or cream cheese. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Boston Brown Bread
   (from King Arthur Flour)

1 c cornmeal
1 c rye flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c raisins
2 c buttermilk
¾ c dark molasses

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