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Boston Brown Bread

Categories: Breads

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Boston brown bread is a type of dark, slightly sweet steamed quick bread popular in New England. It is cooked by steam in a can, or cylindrical pan and contains a mixture of whole wheat flour, cornmeal and molasses to give it a dark color.


  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cooking oil
  • 1/3 c. raisins


Grease a 7 1/2x3 1/2x2-inch loaf pan or a 4- to 4 1/2-cup heatproof mold or bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl stir together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl combine egg, buttermilk, molasses, sugar, and oil. Add to flour mixture. Stir just till well combined. Stir in raisins.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Cover tightly with greased foil, greased side down. Place on a rack in a Dutch oven. Pour hot water into the Dutch oven around the pan till water covers 1 inch of the pan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or till a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Add additional boiling water as needed.

Remove from Dutch oven; cool bread in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on the rack. Serve warm or completely cool, wrap, and chill. Makes 1 loaf (15 servings).

Reheating directions: Unwrap bread and return to the pan or mold. Cover tightly with foil and place on a rack in a Dutch oven. Add hot water and steam as above for 15 minutes. Unmold and serve warm.

To reheat in the microwave oven, unwrap bread and place on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with waxed paper. Micro-cook on 50% power (medium) for 6 to 8 minutes or till heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Photography by Nathaniel Crawford - Terminatetor Kitchen