Themes and Plans for November
Two Crafts and a Cake for Today's Feast

From the Autumn Kitchen: Brown Bread


There's just something about September. I feel an irresistable urge to clean, to plan and to bake. For instance, yesterday I scrubbed the kitchen counters, assembled my holiday planner and baked a double batch of brown bread.

My husband just loves September. ;)

Well, one cannot grow up in New England and miss sampling that stalwart of picnics from Boston to Stockbridge: brown bread. My family enjoyed it - right out of the B&M can in fact! - warmed up and slathered with butter. Let me tell you, nothing tastes better with baked beans, piccalilli and ham.

It's fairly nutritious to boot - rich with molasses and cornmeal - and it has kid-appeal, too. My boys call it "chocolate bread" because of its rich brown color and sweet cakey taste. I've always wanted to try making homemade brown bread, but I was waiting for just the right (easy) recipe to come along. And then as it happened, Earlybird positively loved brown bread from the first taste, but since he can't have the commercially made variety (due to dietary restrictions), I started looking again for that recipe ...

And I found one in the King Arthur Flour Cookbook. At first glance it looked kind of complicated, but really it was very easy. I adapted it a bit to my liking and convenience.

Here are some of the ingredients:


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins (I omitted these)
  • 2 cups buttermilk, yogurt or sour milk (I used yogurt)
  • 3/4 dark, unsulphured molasses

And, following are the directions:


Mix the cornmeal, flours, baking soda, salt (and raisins, if using) together. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and molasses and add them to the dry ingredients.

Place the mixture in 2 greased one-pound coffee cans or 1 two quart pudding mold, filling them about two-thirds full. Cover these loosely with foil that has been greased on the inside and secure with rubber bands.

(I used coffee cans because I wanted that (to my mind) traditional shape. Since we don't buy canned coffee, I bought two cans of French Market coffee especially for this, which was the only variety that came in 16 oz. cans.)


Place the cans or mold in a kettle or saucepan on top of something (crinkled aluminum foil wll do) to keep the cans off the bottom of the pan. The kettle should be deep enough so its lid can cover the pudding containers.

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

Here's how they looked after two hours of steaming:


It worked! The grooves were even there on the side:


It tasted soooo good with last night's supper (chicken pot pie and roasted vegetables), and it will taste even better this morning warmed up and buttered for breakfast. (Wrap bread in paper towel and microwave briefly to warm.)

I would make this again - now that I have the cans, the recipe and confidence to "steam." These might even make nice holiday gifts, wrapped up and added to a basket of "Yankee" goodies. Hmmm, I must make a note in my holiday planner! :)

Well, have a great day everyone! It is the Feast of the Holy Cross, and we will be making a craft (or two) later today. Be back soon to share!