Bread made in coffee tins


December 03, 2003|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

Regina A. Hatch of Bloomery, W.Va., wrote that many years ago she had a recipe for Boston brown bread that "I believe is cooked in a coffee can. I enjoyed eating it with baked beans."

Ann Whelan of Oella responded. She wrote: "The following is an adaptation from that great American culinary bible, The Joy of Cooking."

Boston Brown Bread

Makes 2 loaves

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup rye flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses

1 cup black raisins, roughly chopped

Combine dry ingredients in a big bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, molasses and raisins. Vigorously blend the liquid into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, then pour into 2 well-buttered 1-pound cylindrical coffee tins.

Butter two 6-inch squares of foil and tie them securely around the tops of the tins with string. Place on a rack in a deep kettle or pot, pour into the pot 2 inches of water (adding more later as necessary), weight down the cover for a tight seal (we've used bricks) and steam for 3 hours over medium heat.

Bread is done when it has risen almost to the top and the center has puffed. (If the center remains indented, steam 5 minutes or so more.) Let cool 1 hour in the can before unmolding. Serve hot, with butter or toasted. Cut like a sausage about 1/2 -inch thick, using a serrated knife.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "Baking bread on the top of the stove - what a concept! ... Be sure to check the water level during the steaming process and add more [preferably boiling] water as needed. Otherwise the bread will scorch on the bottom.

"Test for doneness with a skewer. The middle will be moist but not sticky when done. Some people prefer to dry the steamed loaves in the oven for 15 minutes after steaming. One of the most important things to remember is to not overfill the coffee tins. The batter will leak out all over if you fill them more than 2/3 full. This dense, rich bread is perfect when served alongside Boston's other famous dish, baked beans."

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