"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Friday, November 14, 2014

Traditional Boston Brown Bread

 Link to King Arthur Recipe

This bread was an experiment and test of my skills.  Steaming bread is something I have never tried before.  Honestly, I didn't think it would work AT ALL.  But it did!  I did not have pumpernickel flour on hand, so I used what I had, which was Rye Flour.  I do believe the bread would take on a whole new character with the pumpernickel flour.  In hindsight I could have added instant coffee to darken up the dough and add another layer of flavor.  Next time I will have the correct flour and use Black Strap Molasses!  Also this recipe did not address how to keep the cans from floating in the water bath.  I ended up putting a heavy glass bowl on top of the cans.  Also not mentioned was how long to let the bread cool before taking them out.. I left them sit for about 10 minutes.

The first challenge was finding these!  Metal coffee cans..

This is traditionally served with baked beans because the combination of grains and legumes (beans or peas) produces a protein that is as complete as that in any meat but held together with fiber rather than fat (a real nutritional bonus). It is a cinch to put together, is moist and delicious, and can be eaten with beans (or pea soup! in any form, or even by itself!) The ingredients can be mixed up very fast; the steaming takes about 2 hours.

1 cup whole cornmeal
1 cup pumpernickel flour (I used Rye Flour)
1 cup King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins (optional but good)
2 cups buttermilk, nonfat yogurt or sour milk (1cup of milk can be soured with 1 tablespoon of vinegar; let clabber for 5 minutes) (I used Greek Yogurt)
3/4 cup dark, unsulphured molasses

Mix the cornmeal, flours, baking soda, salt and raisins together. Combine the buttermilk and molasses and stir them into the dry ingredients. 

Place the mixture in two greased 1-pound coffee cans or one 2-quart pudding mold, filling them about two-thirds full. Cover these loosely with foil that has been greased on the inside (to prevent sticking) and secure with rubber bands. You can grease the inside lid of the pudding mold as well. 

I had a metal steaming basket that I used to set the cans on.

Place the cans, or mold, in a kettle or saucepan on top of something (crinkled aluminum foil or a stainless steel vegetable steaming insert will do nicely) to keep the can off the bottom of the pan. The kettle should be deep enough so its lid can cover the pudding container(s).

Fill the kettle with boiling water two-thirds of the way up the cans. Cover, bring the water back to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Steam for about 2 hours, adding water if necessary.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 3, January-February 1992 issue.