Boston Brown Bread

Iconic and once ubiquitous in New England, Boston brown bread is one of America’s earliest niche breads. Its history and unique presentation alone will intrigue diners – not to mention its super moist texture, and rich, sweet molasses flavor reminiscent of a ginger bread cookie. Typical recipes are made up of nothing more than an embarrassingly simple combination of whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, cornmeal, molasses, and baking soda poured into clean baked bean cans and steamed or baked in a  bain-marie-like crème brûlée. Once cooled, the bread slides out of the can, is sliced into cranberry sauce-like rings, and slathered with whipped cream cheese, or, better yet, whipped butter spiked with honey! Present on a small cutting board along with the can it was baked in for a dramatic and authentic American dining experience and your customers will achieve breakfast bread glory.

Boston Brown Bread
Servings
8each (14 oz. cans, brimming)
Servings
8each (14 oz. cans, brimming)
Boston Brown Bread
Servings
8each (14 oz. cans, brimming)
Servings
8each (14 oz. cans, brimming)
Ingredients
Servings: each (14 oz. cans, brimming)
Units:
Instructions
  1. Mix the flour, raisins, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt together. Combine the buttermilk and molasses and stir the dry ingredients into the wet until well combined.
  2. Fill baked bean or similar lined cans generously sprayed with pan release about ⅔ full (see note). Place the filled cans in a hotel pan deep enough to hold the cans and allow the brown bread to rise out of the can without contacting the lid. Fill the pan with enough very hot water (180°F+) to come up to ½ of the can height.
  3. Fill the kettle with boiling water two-thirds of the way up the pan. Loosely cover the can tops with a greased piece of foil to prevent too much condensation from falling back on the bread while it steams. Cover the pan with a lid or inverted 2-inch hotel pan and carefully place in a 325°F oven (300°F convection).
  4. Bake for 40 minutes and begin testing for doneness. The bread should be fully risen, set, and beginning to pull from the can sides slightly. The bread is done when a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven, and let it cool for about 10 minutes before removing the cans to cool on a rack. Once cooled to room temperature, loosen the bread from the can by inverting and gently shaking and jarring until the bread slides out. Loosen with a thin knife if necessary.
  6. Serve the same day sliced ½-inch thick with whipped cream cheese or compound butter. Or, store refrigerated up to a week. Remove chill before serving.
Recipe Notes

Note: Use clean and dry baked bean cans 14-28 oz. What’s important is that the cans are lined or coated to prevent a metallic taste transfer to the bread.