Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baked Boston Brown Bread

This is a pretty intense bread, and not for the faint of heart...or stomach, I guess I should say. This bread was eaten a lot in the 1930's and 40's, and was traditionally steamed in a tin can. This recipe has you bake it in a regular loaf pan, but that does create a different texture than steaming it would. It also means it's not shaped like a tin can, which is kind of disappointing. Maybe I'll have to make this again, and try the tin can method.
  If you like dense bread, you'll love this stuff. It's got buttermilk, molasses, brown sugar and raisins in it. It's pretty rad. It also calls for stone ground graham flour. I had never heard of that, nor could I find any, but I did find some stone ground whole wheat flour, and that worked just as well. If you can't find even that, just regular whole wheat flour will do.
Like most bread, this bread is best hot and fresh with butter slathered all over it. Enjoy!

Baked Boston Brown Bread
2 cups stone-ground graham flour (or whole wheat if you can't find graham flour)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg
3/4 cup raisins
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water

Adjust an oven rack to the the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan and set aside.
Whisk the flours, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, molasses, and egg in a separate bowl. Gradually stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until combined. Stir in the raisins. Stir the baking soda into the boiling water until dissolved, then stir into the batter until just incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
Cool the loaf in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool for 1 hour before serving.