I’ve invited a friend for lunch tomorrow. However, I don’t have any bread in the house so I’m making Boston Brown Bread using Mrs. L. W. Simonds’ recipe in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I’ve heard of Boston Brown Bread but I really don’t know anything about it. Those of you more knowledgeable about it are welcome to enlighten me!
I liked the look of this recipe since it uses so many different flours. I suspect this contributor is an older woman since she is using an older term for corn meal by calling it Indian. It was sometimes called Indian meal. I had all of them on hand so I put half a cup of each (rye, Graham, corn meal and flour) into a bowl and mixed them well together. I added the baking soda and salt and then mixed in the molasses, boiling water and milk. I made sour milk by adding half a teaspoon of vinegar to half a cup of milk and then getting the six tablespoons from it.
My problem was figuring out how to steam the bread. Do I put the batter in a loaf pan and then the pan into a steamer? I don’t have a steamer large enough. I ended up treating it like a steamed pudding. I put the Boston Brown Bread batter into a pudding mold and them put that into my steaming set up. I’ve discovered that an old style granite ware blanching pot I bought at a local hardware store a month or two ago works great for making puddings. It keeps the pudding mold up off the bottom and prevents it from burning.
This recipe for Boston Brown Bread is quick to mix up but takes a long time to cook. I checked on it every so often and topped up the water. After three hours I removed the mold. I loosened the bread and tipped it out onto a plate. I looked like a pudding in some ways. I cut a steaming hot slice and put some butter on before tasting.
Leonard Wells Simonds and Rosette H. Johnson were married some time before 1889. Rosette was born in 1849 in the United States but came to Canada in 1876. She had one daughter Evelyn. In the 1911 census mother and daughter are living together. Leonard isn’t living there. Neither woman has paid employment.
I like this bread. The molasses flavour is strong but I like that taste and it makes a nice dark bread. The texture is not as grainy as I expected. It will be interesting to see what it is like tomorrow.
BOSTON BROWN BREAD
Mrs. L. W. Simonds
1/2 cup rye, 1/2 cup Graham, 1/2 cup Indian, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup molasses, 1/2 cup boiling water, 6 tablespoons sour milk, 1 teaspoon soda, 1 pinch of salt, steam from 3 to 4 hours.