Boston Brown Bread Made in a Loaf Pan

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 we were willing to bet this bread could be baked as well as steamed. So we fooled around with the ingredients in several recipes — all remarkably the same, by the way — until we had something that would fit into a standard loaf pan. Then, to somewhat imitate the steaming process, we covered the top with aluminum foil. After an hour in the oven, we peeled off the foil to reveal — brown bread!
10 mins
1 hr 10 mins
1 hr 20 mins
one 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" pan, about 16 servings
Boston Brown Bread Made in a Loaf Pan


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.
  2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpernickel flour, cornmeal, whole wheat, baking soda, salt and currants.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the buttermilk and molasses together until smooth.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined; there's no need to beat the batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into your 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.
  6. Bake the bread for 1 hour. Remove the foil (the middle may be slightly sunken; that's OK), and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Store leftover bread in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.