Classic Boston brown bread studded with raisins and steamed in a coffee can.
Do your best to find the rye flour. It adds a lot to the flavor of the finished bread.
- Butter for greasing loaf pans or coffee cans
- 1/2 cup (heaping) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (heaping) rye flour
- 1/2 cup (heaping) finely ground corn meal (must be finely ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 cup molasses (any kind)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- One metal 6-inch tall by 4-inch diameter coffee can, or a 4x8 loaf pan
1 You can either make this in the oven or the stovetop, and you can either make this with a loaf pan or a metal coffee can. If you are using the oven method, preheat the oven to 325° and bring a large pot of water to a boil. If you are using the stovetop method, set the steamer rack inside a tall stockpot and fill the pot with enough water to come 1/3 of the way up the sides of your coffee can. Turn the burner on to medium as you work.
2 Grease a coffee can or small loaf pan with butter. In a large bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, rye flour, corn meal, baking powder and soda, salt and allspice. Add the raisins if using.
3 In another bowl, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla extract if using. Whisk in the molasses. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well with a spoon.
4 Pour the batter into the coffee can or loaf pan taking care that the batter not reach higher than 2/3 up the sides of the container.
5 Cover the loaf pan or coffee can tightly with foil. If you are using the stovetop method, set the can in the pot, cover and turn the heat to high. If you are using the oven method, find a high-sided roasting pan that can hold the coffee can or loaf pan. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches one third up the side of the coffee can or loaf pan. Put the roasting pan into the oven. Steam the bread for at least 2 hours and 15 minutes. Check to see if the bread is done by inserting a toothpick into it. If the toothpick comes out clean, you're ready. If not, recover the pan and cook for up to another 45 minutes.
6 Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before putting on a rack. Let the bread cool for 1 hour before turning out of the container.
7 Slice and eat plain, or toast in a little butter in a frying pan.
Yield: Serves 4-6.