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And you thought it only came out of a can, right? Boston brown bread is actually a mixture of rye and wheat flours and cornmeal, sweetened with molasses, moistened with buttermilk, and steamed in a steamer for hours atop the stove.
But I was willing to bet this bread could be baked as well as steamed. So I fooled around with the ingredients in several recipes -- all remarkably the same, by the way -- until I had something that would fit into a standard loaf pan. Then, to somewhat imitate the steaming process, I covered the top with aluminum foil. After an hour in the oven, I peeled off the foil to reveal -- brown bread! I hope you enjoy the results as much as I did. -- P.J.H.
3/4 cup pumpernickel
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup currants
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup molasses
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpernickel, cornmeal, whole wheat, baking soda, salt and currants. In a separate bowl, beat the buttermilk and molasses together till smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix till just combined; there's no need to beat the batter.
Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, and cover it with buttered aluminum foil, fastening the foil tight to the edges of the pan (so the bread will steam a bit), but ballooning it in the center, so the bread has room to expand without hitting the foil.
Bake the bread in a preheated 325°F oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil (the middle may be slightly sunken; that's OK), and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Yield: 1 loaf, about 16 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (1/2-inch slice, 58g): 122 cal, .6g fat, 3g protein, 17g complex carbohydrates, 9g sugar, 3g dietary fiber, 1mg cholesterol, 192mg sodium, 260mg potassium, 11RE vitamin A, 1mg vitamin C, 2mg iron, 59mg calcium, 103mg phosphorus.