Boston brown bread is a recipe that's nearly as old as the United States. Back when the country was founded, cornmeal and rye flour were fairly common, but wheat flour was a luxury that was hard to come by. This bread uses all three grains in small quantities to minimize the need for expensive wheat flour alone.
Brown bread is traditionally steamed rather than baked in order to soften and tenderize the cornmeal. It takes longer than other breads to cook, but the result is like nothing else. Molasses and raisins give the savory bread a touch of sweetness, and the combination of grains provides a unique and addictive texture. To make this in the traditional way, bake it in a 6-inch-tall-by 4-inch-diameter coffee can. If you don’t have an empty can, you can bake the bread in a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan, using the same water-bath steaming method.