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Boston Brown Bread

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Are you familiar with this traditional, old-fashioned bread? I can remember my mom making it in coffee cans, which I found fascinating. And then the slices were nice and round and we would eat it with cream cheese.  So when I saw this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website the other day, I decided to try it.  I was intrigued that they had you use wide mouth canning jars and a crock pot.  Using the crock pot made the whole steaming process sound easier.  It does not require a lot of ingredients, but who has rye flour on hand? Fortunately I was going to the store, so I picked up both wheat and rye flours, a new container of cornmeal, and stared directly at the molasses before deciding I had so much at home I wouldn’t even buy a backup jar. Fool! For of course I merely had 1/2 of the 3/4 c needed of molasses.  I made up the difference with brown sugar, so my result was not as dark or sweet as I think it should have been.  I noticed King Arthur did not even mention raisins (!), which I consider essential to this, so I threw in an ample amount.  No eggs or shortening in this recipe-it’s all the dry ingredients plus buttermilk (or, in my case, milk soured by the addition of lemon juice.) I also believed I had ample wide mouth canning jars, but was mistaken. So I grabbed some cans out of the recycling and scrubbed them clean.
Boston Brown Bread
I think I might prefer the can because then you get cool ridges. So I used four different sized containers and just firmly put tinfoil on top of the cans. Into the crockpot bath of water for 2 1/2 hours and voila! Came out perfectly.
Boston Brown Bread
The smallest can size makes adorable round slices. My friend had the delicious and attractive suggestion of making canapes out of the bread, cream cheese, and a pretty slice of cucumber. Wouldn’t a tray of those be pretty?
Boston Brown Bread

And now the perfect lunch-the bread with cream cheese alongside some nice homemade chicken soup.
Boston Brown Bread


About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

2 responses »

  1. Wonder if that’d work with gluten free flour… Maybe I’ll add it to the long, long list of recipes I want to try and convert. I’m really liking your latest patchwork too. Very jealous of your space for chickens – I miss the little flock I had a couple of years ago but had to leave behind.


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