New England is in my blood, even as I identify myself very much a California Woman. George Hall, my paternal gggggggggrandfather arrived in Massachusetts shores in the 1630’s! As a teen I attended high school in Massachusetts, spending summers in Maine. During this time I absorbed a bit of New England culture. Along with beef stews full of carrots and onions and potatoes there was brown bread, which, when my daughter Antonia was a wee little girl, I taught myself to make. Who knows what moved me to dig out that recipe and make a batch after so many years? But I did, and here I share with you, as it’s ever so easy to make and a delightful addition to your repertoire!
Here’s what you need to get started:
Ingredients for making Boston Brown Bread
1 cup wholewheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
3/4 cup molasses
1 cup raisins
2 cups buttermilk
Mix in a medium size bowl the dry ingredients listed above.
In a larger bowl whisk together the second group of ingredients above. I used a combination of dark and golden raisins.
Add wet mix to dry.
This is the unexpected part, for rather than placing the batter into a traditional pan, you need to fill several metal cans, which you have greased with butter, 2/3 full. For this recipe I chose to use four cans that had contained organic pumpkin (which I feed to my dogs). I specifically chose these cans as they did not have BPA liners. Were you to look for alternative recipes you would also see that some folks use empty metal coffee cans. I don’t drink coffee, so that would not be an option. These worked perfectly. So here they are, ready for the next step.
Now. The next step will seem unlikely, but follow along! You need to place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of each can, and tie down the foil with twine. Two notes: the side of the foil which faces the batter you want to also grease with butter. And I doubled the foil prior to placing over top of can.
And then you place the covered cans in a heavy kettle of water. Water level should reach half way up the cans. Cover.
Bring the water to a shallow boil and reduce the heat sufficiently that the water is simply simmering. You will need to allow this simmering for two hours. Be sure to check water level so it does not evaporate below the half way mark. And be sure, also, to check the heat level so the simmering is gentle.
When the two hours are up, remove cans from the water, remove the foil, and place cans on a board or counter to cool.
Once cooled, run a knife around inside edge and the bread will readily slip out of the can.
Boston Brown Bread is traditionally associated with hot dogs and baked beans, which is a lovely way to serve. But don’t hesitate to simply put a bit of butter on top and serve for breakfast or tea. Or try a delicious bit of cream cheese as well. I particularly appreciate that it is iron rich with molasses! Note: To store, I place in a plastic bag and refrigerate. As I want to serve, I slice off what I need, and steam prior to serving. I think you will find it deliciously yummy and a family favorite!
Love and kitchen blessings,
Book News: This week I received notice that this blog was included on a list of Top Twenty Gardening Blogs of 2013. A complete list can be found here. I’m also very much looking forward to an upcoming interview. On June 23rd at 8:30AM (PDT) I will be a guest on the gardening show “Bob Tanem in the Garden” on KSFO in San Francisco!
Posted on June 9th, 2013 by Kathryn
Filed under: People at Life