Hi, I'm Torrey. Welcome to Left Field, where creativity runs amok and imagination is ALWAYS more important than knowledge. Shoes are not allowed but ties are optional. This is a repository of snippets from my life out here in Left Field. One never knows what shiny bits of creativity will be found here... cards, scrapbook layouts, photography, poetry, recipes, ponderings, rantings and musings. It could be anything! Life in Left Field is always changing, always real, always ...interesting.

December 22, 2018

Triple B...Boston Brown Bread

Hidy ho, crafty peeps!

I've given up dusting off this place. I have been gone so long from my blog that the dust bunnies in here all moved to the country. I guess they decided that Left Field was not the type of "field" they were looking for.

So, I have put the redesign of my blog on hold. It's taking longer than I had planned. Turns out, I have TOO MANY ideas for what the new look will be. I keep vacillating between 3 ideas. We'll see which one finally wins out. But, for now, the "old" design will remain.

Now, for the matter at hand, BOSTON BROWN BREAD.

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How many of you know what this is?

I grew up on this stuff. It was always a treat around this time of year to see the cans of this delicacy show up on the grocery store shelves again.

Brown bread is a New England tradition. It's an early-American classic that dates back to Colonial times. It's a moist, dense, dark brown quick bread that is steamed in cylindrical cans. Though, you can find recipes that call for baking it in the oven in a loaf pan. It MIGHT taste similar, but I guarantee the texture (and experience) wouldn't be the same.

Historically, it's served with baked beans. And maybe hot dogs.

Being that it's a steamed bread, its texture is...well...rubbery. It's SO unique. I've decided it must be akin to the steamed puddings they serve in the U.K. (like Figgy pudding). It's VERY moist. The flavor is like rich dark caramel, almost smoky, and not that sweet. It's flavor comes from all that molasses and raisins. It's very low fat (if you use fat-free buttermilk), high in fiber, has no refined sugar, and is packed full of B vitamins and minerals (thanks to the molasses).

My mom told me how much she'd love to have some, so I made it my mission to find it. I started out at the local big grocery stores. None to be found. I even asked the managers if they could order it.

Nope.

So then I traveled to the gourmet grocery stores.

Nada.

I finally found it online...but GEEZ...it's like $6- $10 a can (plush S&H).

That's when I decided I'd teach myself how to make it.

How hard can it be?

Turns out...not hard at all. In fact, it's super easy.

The only difficult thing was finding fine-ground cornmeal and rye flour. But, I finally did at our local gourmet grocery store.

Oh! and for the cans I used, I just saved some empty veggie/chili cans, washed 'em out, removed their labels. BUT...I did use a special "smooth edge" can opener to completely cut off the tops of the can. I think I found mine on Amazon. Here is a link to the one I have
smooth edge can opener 

it looks like this

So...here is my recipe! I compiled it (Frankensteined it) from several recipes. I took what made sense from several and came up with my own version. And, truth be told, my homemade brown bread tastes BETTER than the commercial canned variety.

WAY BETTER.

Torrey's Better Boston Brown Bread



Ingredients: for 4 "loaves"

  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 3/4 cup (rounded) fine-ground cornmeal/corn flour- do NOT use regular cornmeal.
  • 3/4 cup (rounded) rye flour
  • 3/4  cup (rounded) whole wheat flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 2/3 cup raisins (optional)
 You will also need:
  • Softened butter for greasing cans
  • 4 (14 oz) cans (I use empty veggie cans) 
  • parchment paper
  • aluminum foil
  • rubber bands (or kitchen string)
Directions:

  1. Grease four 14-ounce cans, WELL, with butter and place a round piece of parchment paper in the bottom of each can.
  2. Whisk all ingredients dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
  4. Add raisins (if desired). Stir them in well.
  5. Divide batter between the cans. Batter will NOT fill cans completely. Leave about 1-1/2 inches head space to allow bread to rise.
  6. Place a piece of foil tightly over the top of each can and secure with a string or rubber band. Set cans in a pot on a steamer rack (I just use my big pasta pot with lift out strainer liner inside)… and fill with hot water to halfway up sides of cans. 
  7. Set lid on pot and bring to simmer over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until breads are set and gently pulling away from sides of can, about 1 hour. A skewer inserted into the center should come out with moist crumbs.
  8. Remove cans from pot, set cans on cooling rack, and remove foil. Let bread cool in can for 1 hour. 
  9. If necessary, run knife along inside of can to loosen (mine just come right out on their own)… then remove bread by turning can upside down and knocking it gently onto work surface. 
  10. Serve with cream cheese, or sliced into ½ inch slices and browned in skillet with butter (the way I like it). 
  11. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap (ok if it’s still a bit warm), and store in refrigerator.
 

2 comments:

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    ReplyDelete
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