Try this centuries-old bread recipe and you'll understand why it's still popular

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Boston brown bread is a recipe that's been delighting people for hundreds of years. When Europeans first began immigrating to what would become the United States, 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.
Cooks traditionally steam brown bread rather than bake it 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 it in the traditional way, bake it in a 6-inch-tall-by 4-inch-diameter can. If you don’t have an empty can, bake the bread in a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan, using the same water-bath steaming method.
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Cooktop Cove
Old-fashioned Boston brown bread
6
10 minutes
2 hours and 25 minutes
2 hours and 35 minutes
Pat of butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup molasses
Heat the oven to 325 F, and bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stovetop.
Grease a metal 6-inch-tall-by-4-inch-diameter coffee can with butter.
In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, rye flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice.
Stir in the raisins, if using.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and molasses.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir to thoroughly combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared can.
Cover the can tightly with foil, and place it into a high-sided roasting pan or loaf pan.
Add boiling water to the pan until it reaches about 1/3 of the way up the sides of the can.
Put the pan into the oven, and cook for about 2 hours and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Remove the can from the water bath, and set it on a rack to cool for at least 1 hour before turning out the loaf from the can.
Slice and serve.
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