Valentine’s Breakfast: DIY Boston Brown Bread

There are a few special occasions throughout the year that warrant a fanfare breakfast. Growing up, I could always count on breakfast in bed on my birthday. Christmas is always cinnamon buns. And Valentine’s Day is always heart shaped … something. This year, it’s one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, Boston Brown Bread.

A few years ago, I started making Boston Brown Bread from scratch. And it was even better than the stuff you get in a can at the grocery store. For those who’ve never heard of such a thing, I’m totally serious — it sits on the shelf right next to the baked beans. Right about now everyone living outside of New England is all hubba-whaaa? Don’t fret, I promise you that this bread is worth reading on.

Boston Brown Bread is one of the more well-known breads to come out of New England (also check out anadama bread — yum) and is a quick bread that you steam in the oven. How’s that work? You can buy a special mold for the bread … or you can just use a metal coffee can. 

Gotta love a little repurposing. An equal mix of whole wheat flour, rye flour, and cornmeal, plus some dark molasses give this bread a hearty, sweet flavor that’s amazing with a little butter, jam or cream cheese. 

This bread is so easy to make and it’s so lovely in the morning. I’ve lost the written recipe I use for Boston Brown Bread (it’s all from memory now and I wing it, so I’m not a great source) but here’s a great recipe you can use: Alton Brown’s Boston Brown Bread recipe from Food Network.

Once you have your batter, it goes into the can, then the can gets covered by a double layer of tinfoil and tied off with twine. 

Then the can goes into a deep baking pan, and boiling water is added until it comes halfway up the can. The whole thing goes into a low temp oven to steam. 

Two hours later, you’ve got Boston Brown Bread.

Give it an hour to cool in the coffee can. While it’s cooling, gather all of your other breakfast ingredients — in my case, cheesy scrambled eggs, avocado, and strawberry hearts. Then slice up your Boston Brown bread, cut it into little heart shapes with a cookie cutter and slather it with butter and jam. Nom nom nom….

For ideas on how to serve your Boston Brown Bread or other goodies for a special Valentine’s breakfast (remember: presentation is everything!), check out the photo gallery below.

8 Responses

  1. maryann says:

    what about the bpa lining the cans?????

  2. Nancy says:

    My mom made this back in the 60s and we gave it to our teachers as Christmas gifts. I think Mom's recipe had cranberries in it and she baked them in an 8 oz. walnut can. The music teacher demanded one loaf for each of us kids that she had in class!!

  3. Jeannette says:

    I,too, remember buying this bread in a can. We spread it with cream cheese. I look forward to making this recipe. I use 3 coffee cans to bake zucchini bread which gives it an interesting look. I don't steam them..just bake them.

  4. Cathy Spelker says:

    When I was little my mom ought it in a can. We open both end to get the bread out then sped cream cheese on it. Yummy it was a real treat

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  6. Shego says:

    For an special occasions must need to be some special food recipe like your Valentin's special recipe thoughts. I am very glad to know your recipe conception. Which is able to change my outlook for the special day recipe. Hopefully, in near future you'll gives me as well as more handy recipe concept.

  7. CarolWhelan says:

    The tool is a canning tool used to tamp food down in a jar.

  8. Keri_HGTV says:

    Bread in a can?! You're right, I'd never heard of such a thing. Sounds delicious, though!


About Ellen Foord 


A tight budget has never stopped Ellen Foord from creating a beautiful, modern, creative home and treating every day as one of life's smaller celebrations. A freelance writer and ...

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