Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Boston Brown Bread

Are you ready? Ready for all the holiday baking? No? Well, have no fear! I, Erika Beth the Messy Chef, am here and presenting the 12 Recipes of Christmas.

You've heard of the 12 Days of Christmas. In fact, I did 12 Days of Christmas posts last Christmas. This year I will post 12 recipes in December leading up to Christmas. That's about 3 posts a week compared to 1 a week. How excited are you?! Now you can get great ideas for treats to make for the season.

First up: Boston Brown Bread. Wikipedia describes it as "somewhat seasonal, being served mostly in fall and winter." PERFECT!

The recipe uses molasses. I think this is the first time I've ever used molasses. It was so pretty in my goose measuring cup!
What's even better about molasses is that when you pour it in a bowl, it can double as a spirograph!
This recipe also uses some wheat flour to help it keep its brown color. I think it's the first time I've used wheat flour too! And yes, I have the same problems with wheat flour as with white flour: a mess is made.
The other awesome thing about this recipe is that you bake the bread in soup cans! So, save up some empty cans and then bake away this great winter recipe!
Boston Brown Bread (from My Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook)
1/2 C molasses
1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 t baking soda stirred into
2 C buttermilk
1 t salt
1 egg
2 1/2 C wheat flour
1/2 C all-purpose baking flour
1 t baking powder
1 C raisins plumped

Combine ingredients. Stir. Grease and flour 5 15 oz cans. Fill about half full with batter. Put cans on a baking sheet or a large pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes with a cookie sheet covering cans. Uncover. Bake for another 10 minutes. Once done baking, remove from oven and then remove bread from cans when still hot. Use a knife around the edges to gently pry out.

Erika's Extra: BBB is best served warm and with butter on top and makes an especially good treat for breakfast. Mmmm!
Bake well and prosper!


  1. this was my breakfast today and it was an awesome start to the day! i also realized (having a small childhood flashback) that my grandma used to make this for us when we were little.

  2. This bread look very delicious... Will bookmark this and want to bake this for my boy :D

  3. Brown bread was a staple in my house growing up. Every Saturday night was hot dogs, beans and brown bread. I don't get to have it much anymore since my husband hates it. Thanks so much for this recipe, I've only ever bought it never made it.

    1. Lol Jem, same here in my childhood
      .. hot dogs, beans and brown bread Saturday night. I remember 1st I bought brown bread, my husband had never had it... he LOVES it now. Can't wait to surprise him with homemade !!!

  4. Wait, no cornmeal in this recipe? What the...?

  5. Such an interesting recipe! Love that it's baked in a can... genius! And by the way, where did you get those cute measuring cups? =)

  6. JEM - I didn't even know you could buy brown bread. lol Definitely bake this, I'm sure your husband will love it! :)
    Steve2 in LA - I read in Wikipedia that Boston Brown Bread can contain cornmeal and other grains. I was blown away. I must get my hands on one of those recipes and try it!
    Peggy - The cute measuring cups are from Anthropologie. I bought them about 2 years ago though. That's also where I got my giraffe measuring spoons. :)

  7. This looks incredible! How many cans will the recipe fill?

  8. Becca - It fills 5 15 oz cans. But I had a hard time finding 16 oz cans of items I wanted to eat. I ended up splitting the recipe (which means using half an egg - FUN! lol) and using 2 smaller cans and one medium sized can.

  9. You made my day!! I have been looking for this at the store for years (The B&M can that I grew up on) and they no longer sell it anywhere. Thank you so much!!

  10. Fun! Love the baking in the cans. Does that work for anything else? Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Miss Messy Chef!

  11. I was wondering that too? do you think any bread could be made in a can?

  12. Kiah and Miss Lydia - I think you can make any bread in cans as long as it doesn't involve yeast. I've never tried though. If YOU try something, let me know how it turns out. :)

  13. Erika Beth and Miss Lydia, The answer to your December 5 question of 'can any bread be made in a can?' reminded me of bread I used to make for Christmas presents when my children were small. The Coffee Can Bread Recipe I have was published in Parade in 1972. It is made in small 1 lb coffee cans and makes two loaves, as follows:

    4 cups unsifted all purpose flour (divided in half)
    1 pkg active dry yeast
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup butter
    1/4 to 1 cup sugar (according to taste)
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup pecans (may substitute wheat germ)
    1/2 cup raisins (may substitute wheat germ)
    2 eggs slightly beaten
    2 1 lb. coffee cans with lids

    Mix 2 cups flour with yeast. Stir water, milk, butter, sugar and salt over low heat until butter melts.
    Cool for about 5 minutes; add to flour and yeast. Add remaining flour (2 cups), nuts, raisins and eggs. Dough will be stiff. Knead on floured board until dough is smooth and elastic. Divide in half and place in lightly greased cans. Let rise in warm place. Be sure to cover the cans with plastic lids. When the dough is approximately 2 inches from the top, bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the top sounds hollow when tapped. This bread can be made using whole wheat flour for all or part of the white flour; molasses or brown sugar for the white sugar and/or any chopped, dried fruit or nuts in place of or in addition to the raisins and pecans.

    The coffee cans and lids can be decorated for the desired occasion and used as gifts, so you need to save those coffee cans. Plus, the round bread looks festive when sliced and served warm with butter. Hmmmm!, Enjoy!

  14. My grandmothers and mother used to bake our Christmas date nut breads in cans but used the tall round cans that eggnog came in. Don't know about the rest of you but if I needed to empty cans, I'd prefer they start out filled with eggnog.

  15. Can this be baked in something other than 5-15oz coffee cans, like loaf pans? If so, what would that be (size?) and how long would the bake time then be.

  16. If I bake the bread in a loaf pan, do I still out a sheet pan under it and one on top of It? Also, do I bake at same temperature and length of time as stated in your recipe? Thank you.

  17. Not sure what you mean by wheat flour. I always thought that white flour was made from wheat. Do you mean whole wheat flour?

  18. Anonymous, I Just baked a loaf in a 9"x5"x3" loaf pan. It came out fine, the top was a little "crusty" but I like that texture. I baked it for 50 minutes, uncovered (no extra pans) at 350 degrees.

  19. Do you have a recipe for ENGLISH MUFFINS that can be baked in cans.

  20. My mother heated what I thought was Brown bread with dates in it when I was young. She would then make a thin icing which when put on th warm bread would melt a little bit and just give it a touch of sweetness. Had it as a dessert.

  21. So happy to find this recipe. I just love it.


Thanks for taking time to leave a message! xo - EB