Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Boston Brown Bread (and Boston Baked Beans)

The city of Boston is an important place in the history of the American Revolution, and we talked a lot about various landmarks and famous people from Boston. One night for dinner we celebrated some of Boston's history by making Boston Baked Beans and Boston Brown Bread.

I didn't think our baked beans turned out that great, but the brown bread was really interesting. It's a kind of bread I've never made before---you bake it in aluminum cans in a water bath! It's a quick bread, so no yeast, and it actually comes together quite fast. The bread turns out sweet (from the molasses) and really moist. It uses rye flour and cornmeal along with the wheat flour, as wheat flour was a precious commodity in colonial times! The cooking method was also ideal for colonial homes, because most people didn't have ovens, and this bread could be steamed in a cooking pot over the fire. We liked it a lot. It's worth trying just to see how cool the round bread loaves look when they're all baked! Here's some history on Boston Brown Bread, if you're interested.

And here's the recipe we used.
After mixing up the batter, you pour it into empty cans (coffee cans were specified in most recipes, but I used three green-bean-sized cans [14.5 oz.] and they worked great). You cover each can with foil and tie it with a string so no water can get in.
Then you just put the cans in a few inches of water, bring it to a boil, and let them steam for a half hour or so. It's really amazing that this process produces such nice loaves of bread! It was really fun to make.

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