Boston Brown Bread, also known as New England Brown Bread, is a unique and historic American bread with a distinctive flavor and texture. Unlike traditional wheat bread, Boston Brown Bread is made from a combination of cornmeal, rye flour, and whole wheat flour. It’s sweetened with molasses and often includes raisins for added sweetness and texture.
What sets this bread apart is its method of steaming rather than baking. It’s typically prepared in a can or pudding mold, then slowly steamed to perfection. This process results in a moist, dense, and slightly sweet bread with a deep, rich flavor.
Boston Brown Bread is a beloved part of New England cuisine and is often served with classic accompaniments like baked beans and brown bread. Its unique taste and method of preparation make it a cherished culinary tradition in the region.
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup molasses use light or fancy molasses, not blackstrap
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Prepare the Mold and Steamer: Grease a 9-inch tube pan (12-cup) with butter or cooking spray. Place a rack inside a Dutch oven or steamer, making sure that the rack is elevated at least an inch from the bottom.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and molasses.
Beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in a large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, ensuring all ingredients are combined.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula to make sure everything is well mixed.
Beat the mixture again with the mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.
Pour the batter into the greased tube mold, filling it evenly.
Cover the mold tightly with aluminum foil to prevent steam from getting into the batter.
Place the mold on the rack in the dutch oven or steamer. Pour boiling water into the dutch oven until it almost reaches the bottom of the mold. Keep the water boiling over low heat.
Monitor and Test: Continue steaming for about 3 hours, adding boiling water as needed to keep water in the pan. Check for doneness by inserting a wooden pick into the middle; it should come out clean when the bread is done. The bread will also look uniform on the top and spring back lightly when touched.
Unmold the Bread: Remove the mold from the steamer and carefully unmold the bread. Allow it to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This bread is also delicious at room temperature.