Granny's Brown Bread


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Brown bread is the traditional accompaniment to baked beans, a true New England favorite. This loaf is cooked by steaming. To rig up a steamer, add 2 inches of water to a large pot; then place a brick or tin can in the center of the pot and set an empty 23-ounce coffee can (or 7- to 8-cup cylindrical mold) on top of it. Cover the pot tightly, and check it every 30 minutes to make sure there’s still plenty of water at the bottom.


1 cup graham flour (or use whole-wheat flour)
1 cup rye flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup molasses
2 cups sour cream
1 cup sultanas or other raisins (optional)
Unsalted butter


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and sultanas, if you like, and stir to form a smooth batter.

Butter the mold thickly and add batter (to about one-third of the way). Cover the pan with buttered foil and tie it in place with a string.

Place the mold in a steamer pot over 2 inches of rapidly boiling water (you’ll need to add more water as it cooks). Cover and cook 2-3 hours, until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean.

Unmold on a cooling rack and let cool slightly. Serve warm, slathered with butter.

Cooking & Recipes


1 loaf

Preparation Time: 

20 minutes

Start to Finish Time: 

2-1/2 hours

Preparation Method

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