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Fabulously yummy Boston brown bread

Boston brown bread streamed in a can!
Boston brown bread streamed in a can!

Yield: 1 loaf

My Grandmother used to bake this bread in a one pound coffee can, hence its round shape. It is steamed in a pot of water inside the oven, giving it a super moist, decadent texture. Boasting the richness of molasses, this loaf is excellent sliced thin for a snack tray or luncheon buffet, or sliced thick to round out a meal. With butter or without, this loaf is sure to please, but it is definitely the star of the show when served warm with a pat of butter. Let's get to it!

You will need:

  • 1 28 ounce can. These days, coffee in a one pound can is often difficult to find, so you can use a 28 ounce tomato or tomato sauce can, or perhaps a 28 ounce baked bean can. Just be sure to lightly grease the inside with a little butter to avoid the bread sticking.
  • 1 oven-proof pot (no plastic handles!) that is deep enough to hold the can full of batter and water deep enough to cover the can halfway to its top.

5 T. vegetable oil
2/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1 egg
1 cups buttermilk (Soured milk may be substituted:
Add 1 Tablespoon vinegar to 2 cups milk and let stand for five minutes.)
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup rye flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon teaspoon baking soda
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
2/3 cup raisins

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Have your baking can lightly greased and steaming pot ready. You will want the water to be boiling when you set the can of batter in it, so go ahead and have it heating on the stove top while you prepare the batter.

Whisk together the oil, molasses, egg, and milk until combined. It is not necessary to beat these with an electric mixer, simply combining them by hand is sufficient.

Whisk together the flours, salt, and baking soda. Stir in the chopped nuts and raisins.

Stir the wet combination into the dry combination and mix well.

Now comes the fun part! Your pot of water should be boiling at this point. Go ahead and pour the batter into the greased can, making sure to leave 1 ½ inches of space at the top for the bread to have room to rise. Cover the top with foil and crimp snugly around the edges. Set that can right into the pot of water and set the entire pot into the center of your pre-heated oven.

The bread steams in the oven for 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours, and the water needs to remain halfway up the can. Replenish with hot tap water as needed during baking to keep it at that level.

Cool the finished bread in the can sitting on a rack for at least ten minutes before removing. If the bread does not want to easily slip out of the can, don't worry! Just use a can opener to remove the bottom of the can and push the bread through.

Serve warm with butter and store any leftovers in the refrigerator...though I bet there will not be much left to refrigerate!

I invite you to visit Chasing the Shade for more about cooking, gardening, frugal living, and good health!

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