Classic Boston Brown Bread

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Easy Old New England Family Dinner Bread

This Classic Boston Brown Bread is bread that was handed down from the Puritans. This was a quick make in the early after noon as sweet molasses bread. One that steamed in the oven for hours while you made the rest of dinner. Often on a Saturday this bread was eaten with Boston Baked Beans with lots of salt pork and a side hot dogs. Well, vegan dogs for us and vegan beans. This was the New England Saturday ritual for dinner. The beans baked all day and the bread took two hour or more to cook. This made for a nice break for Mom while dinner cooked for hours.

Make no mistake this brown bread is so delicious. Between the sweetness of the bread, beans and hot dogs it was a sure win that everyone enjoyed their dinner. When something like this becomes a tradition on Saturday night you knew people would show up unexpected, but very welcomed. If they were to spend the night it was a perfect breakfast to cook up toasted in butter and topped with maple syrup.

Easy Old New England Family Dinner Bread. Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

How To Make Classic Boston Brown Bread

Traditionally this Classic Boston Brown Bread is made by cooking it in a steam bath in a greased up old coffee can. The bread comes out round and when you slice it it is like beautiful perfect round disks. Another tradition is to cook slices of this bread up in a hot skillet. Browning both sides in hot butter. Believe me I have had it and it’s wonderful.

How To Make Classic Boston Brown Bread
How To Make Classic Boston Brown Bread. Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

This brown bread is so easy to mix together. All you have to do is mix all the dry ingredients together and throw the dark raisins in last to coat with the mixture of flour. Then mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl, whisk in the molasses because it is so thick. Then pour the wet batter into the dry mixture. Mix together then pour into a non stick loaf pan or round butter greased coffee can. Cover the top tight with tin foil. Put the loaf or can in the middle of an oven dish or pan. Fill 1/3 of the pan with hot water making sure that the loaf or can is submerged 1/3 up the sides in the hot water. This steaming process is important to help soften the corn meal in the recipe and this works like a charm.

How Long To Cook Classic Boston Brown Bread

The bread takes 2 hours and 15 minutes or more to steam in the oven or stove top. You don’t have to have an oven to make this. Just do the same as for the oven (although, use a large cooking pot to put the can or loaf in and put on top of a steamer rack, then submerge 1/3 with hot water) and cook on the stove top on medium high heat. After 2 hours and 15 minutes check the bread for doneness. Insert a butter knife into the bread and see if it is very sticky (attaching) to the butter knife. If it comes out clean it is done. If it is not done put the foil back on tight and cook some more. You can check for doneness every 15 to 20 minutes.

I grew up in up state New York and I remember my mother on the farm making this bread in a coffee can, pairing it up with her Boston Baked Beans and red Glacier hot dogs. It was always so good. Making this again has brought back so many delicious childhood memories. I hope you enjoy this Classic Boston Brown Bread as much as we do.

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Classic Boston Brown Bread

Classic Boston Brown Bread

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  • Author: Spicy Saucy Vegan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breads, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This New England brown bread lite up the dinner tables for Saturday night dinner for decades. It has been around since the Puritans. This bread is a mixture of white flour, dark rye flour, corn meal, molasses and allspice. Raisins top off this bread with an extra punch of sweetness. Slice and heat slices of this bread in butter in a pan. As tradition has it, serve with Boston Baked beans and hot dogs. Well in our house its vegan hot dogs and vegan Boston Baked Beans but the brown bread is vegan so eat up and Enjoy any way you like it!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Boston Brown Bread

  • 1/2 cup Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp Organic Dark Rye Flour
  • 1/2 cup Finely Ground Organic Corn Meal
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice
  • 1 cup Vegan Buttermilk, (1 cup of plant based milk and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup Molasses
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Dark Raisins, (optional)


Instructions

Dry Ingredients

  1. If baking in a oven heat oven to 325°
  2. In a large mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients, all-purpose flour, dark rye flour, corn meal, baking soda, baking powder, allspice and sea salt. Mix all together and then add the dark raisins. Mix the raisins in. Set aside

Wet Ingredients

  1. In a large bowl mix together the cup of plant based milk and apple cider vinegar mixture, vanilla and molasses. Whisk all together to mix in the thick molasses. When done pour the dry mixed ingredients into the wet mixed ingredients. Mix the two together and pour into a prepared loaf pan or vegan butter greased coffee can. Make sure the batter does not come over ⅔ up the side of the baking loaf or can.
  2. Cover the top of the baking pan or coffee can with tin foil. Make sure the edges are sealed well.

Preparing The Steam Bath

  1. For the oven baked steam bath.
  2. In a large oven safe pan or pot, place the foil covered loaf pan or coffee can in the middle of the pan or pot. Then fill the pan or pot with boiling hot water. Fill until the loaf pan or coffee can is ⅓ full up the sides of the loaf pan or coffee can.
  3. Gently place in the preheated oven and cook for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Check with a toothpick of butter knife for doneness. If it comes out clean it is done. If not cook for 15 minute intervals and check again.
  4. Allow bread to cool for 1 hour before turning out of the baking container.
  5. Slice and eat as is or toast in butter in a frying pan.
  6. For the stove top steam bath
  7. In a large pot place the baking pan or coffee can on top of a steamer rack. After placing it in the large pot fill the pot ⅓ up the side of the loaf pan or coffee can with boiling hot water.
  8. Turn the burner on Medium High heat and cook for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Check with a toothpick or butter knife for doneness. If it comes out clean it is done. If not cook for 15 minute intervals and check again.
  9. Allow bread to cool for 1 hour before turning out of the baking container.
  10. Slice and eat as it is or toast in butter in a frying pan.

2 thoughts on “Classic Boston Brown Bread”

  1. My mother made traditional brown bread and baked beans for dinner almost every Saturday night. I really miss her cooking. She also made donuts every Saturday morning. I wish I could taste it now. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Reply

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