RECIPE: Boston baked bread

johnmcafee_99November 24, 2008

My Grandmother would fix a dark brown bread baked in a coffee can in a water filled cast iron roasting pot. She and my Grandad were both from Boston. Does anyone one have this recipe that you have used? Thanks Mc!

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This is very like the recipe I remember....but it was cooked on top of the stove, over boiling water with greased paper tied over the tops of the cans.
The defining elements I remember were corn meal, molasses, graham flour and raisins.
My grandmother was from the Boston area too.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 10:33PM
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It's called Boston Brown Bread, you can still buy it, B&M (the baked bean people) sell it in cans, along with baked beans.

Here's some recipes from the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, one from 1942 (my mother's cookbook), one from 1965 (my cookbook)

I lived a few blocks from the B&M factory when I was small. It's in Portland, Maine. I remember eating the bread, and the beans, at both my grandmother's house in Portland, and my other grandmother's house in Boston. I don't recall that I liked it very much.

Here is a link that might be useful: Boston Brown Bread

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 9:23PM
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I used to make brown bread baked in a coffee can in the early '70's. It's a great recipe. Here it is:
Walnut Brown Bread

1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups finely milled whole wheat flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light molasses
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbs melted shortening
3 empty #303 (1 pound coffee) cans

Resift all-purpose flour with baking powder, soda and salt. Stir in whole wheat flour and walnuts.

Beat egg lightly; beat in brown sugar, molasses, buttermilk and shortening. Stir into dry mixture just until all of the flour is moistened.

Spoon into greased 303 (1 pound) cans. Bake at 350 degrees, 45 minutes or until bread tests done. Let stand 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack.

OR spoon batter into a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3"). Bake at 350- degrees, 50 to 55 minutes.

The coffee cans are fun to bake in and the bread slices into nice round pieces. I used to bake a wonderful pumpkin bread in coffee cans back then, as well.

Thank you for allowing me to revive an old favorite from my recipe collection. I hope you try it and enjoy it.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 11:05PM
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The point of the "Boston brown Bread" with the beans is that it's made from cornmeal and corn and beans equal a complete protein.
I love Boston Brown Bread spread with peanut butter!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 10:12AM
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I knew that rice and beans made a comlete protein. Didn't know about corn and beans. Thank you!

Annie ~ your recipe sounds good. Have you ever substituted yogurt for buttermilk? Anybody? I read about that substitution and wondered how successful it is? TIA

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 6:21PM
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iris gal,
No, I've never substituted yogurt for buttermilk. I think buttermilk is relatively healthy, though. When a recipe works for me, I generally stick to it. Let me know how it works if you try it. For some reason we used to need to bake in coffee cans and clay flower pots, etc. back in the 60's/70's. I have a great pumpkin bread recipe that baked in coffee cans, as well. I guess it was a hippy/back-to-earth thing!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 7:19PM
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