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Authentic Boston Brown Bread

The rustic, old-fashioned flavor of this hearty Boston brown bread is out of this world! —Sharon Delaney-Chronis, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 50 min. + standing
  • Makes
    1 loaf (12 slices)


  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • Cream cheese, softened, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, molasses, brown sugar and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in walnuts and raisins. Transfer to a greased 8x4-in. loaf pan; cover with foil.
  • Place pan on a rack in a boiling-water canner or other large, deep pot; add 1 in. of hot water to pot. Bring to a gentle boil; cover and steam for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, adding more water to the pot as needed.
  • Remove pan from the pot; let stand for 10 minutes before removing bread from pan to a wire rack. Serve with cream cheese if desired.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 124 calories, 3g fat (0 saturated fat), 1mg cholesterol, 145mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

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  • pattiejean
    Sep 27, 2019

    I love brown bread and was thrilled to try this recipe! It came out moist and delicious, perfectly cooked after 45 minutes. Next time I will make it in empty cans to make it even more authentic. I found the 3 tablespoons of raisins a little skimpy-will definitely add more next time.

  • Susan
    May 28, 2018

    I've eaten this before but this is my first time making it.lThis recipe looks like enough to make 2 cans.

  • Redpunzel
    Sep 19, 2016

    it was more like a loaf to me but it was fantastic to have with homemade beansmy guests loved it!

  • apschwartz
    Jun 30, 2013

    Very good and very hearty.

  • vicnmary45
    Sep 25, 2012

    Thank you for this. I do not have the proper sized cans to make this like I used to and never thought of steaming it in a loaf pan. I love this with some authentic baked beans.

  • faeriedust
    Mar 17, 2012

    Alittle gritty from the corn mealpretty tasty

  • Sugarbearchef
    Jan 12, 2012

    I love this bread for breakfast, and it's so healthy too. I'm happy when a recipie gets me to try something new and I end up liking it. But . . . my hubby and kids won't touch the stuff. All the more for me! Ha-ha!

  • recipecollector123
    Mar 13, 2011

    i didn't have a rack so I laid some forks in the bottom of the pot and sat my cans on them, worked great.

  • kmaier
    Sep 9, 2010

    I put two loaf pans on the rack in my turkey roaster..worked great.

  • cheriwinkle
    Sep 2, 2010

    Pack1966-remove both ends from green chile cans, water chestnut cans, etc. (couple inches deep and both top and bottom can be removed w. can opener) or buy (and wash!) 6-8 nuts (as in nuts and bolts) @ the hardware store that are about 1/4" thick to place the bread pan on.