Being from the South, I never knew what I was missing by not having Boston Brown Bread. And I guess that’s a good thing because once I realized what an amazing bread this was, I was hooked.
The dense texture, slightly sweetened by the molasses, and that distinct style of baking where it’s more steaming than actually baking, is part tradition and part skill and technique. And the result is delicious. But I have to warn you up front, this recipe makes one loaf. And it’ll go quick!
I call this recipe Boston style brown bread because although the taste, texture and appearance is spot on, the shape of the bread is different from traditional Boston brown bread.
Plus, I modified a few things to fit the gluten free version.
The loaf pan
Traditional Boston Brown Bread is baked in cans. This recipe uses a loaf pan because I like the results better. Make sure to cover the loaf pan tightly with foil to help create the perfect environment for steaming the bread.
The Dutch oven or 9 x 13 baking pan
Water plays a critical part in this bread. When you add the water in the pan, it should reach a couple inches up on the loaf pan. I’ve found that either a Dutch oven or a 9 x 13 pan works equally well. Use whatever you have handy, but be sure to cover the 9 x 13 pan tightly with foil, if you go that route.
Bake on the lowest rack
The bread should be baked on the lowest rack in your oven. This allows for enough air to circulate around the pan and it creates an optimal steam bath for the bread.
Gluten Free ‘Boston’ Style Brown Bread
Yield: 1 loaf
¾ cup gluten free cornmeal
¾ cup sorghum flour
¾ brown rice flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. psyllium husk powder
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup dark molasses
1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Adjust oven racks so that the bread will bake on the lowest one. Grease or spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Use either a Dutch oven or a 9 x 13 baking pan as a steamer box for the bread to bake in.
3. Add about 6 cups of water to a large pot and bring it to a simmer on the stove.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
5. Add the buttermilk and molasses into the bowl and stir to combine.
6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
7. Cover this pan with a piece of foil.
8. If using a Dutch oven, place the bread pan into the Dutch oven and pour the simmering water in so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Cover the Dutch oven.
9. If using a 9 x 13 pan, place the bread pan into the 9 x 13 pan and fill the 9 x 13 pan with the simmering water until it reaches about 2 inches up on the loaf pan. Cover the whole pan with foil.
10. Carefully place the pan into the oven and bake for 90 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean.
11. Use caution when removing the foil as the steam will be very hot and will come out very fast. Remove the loaf pan from the steamer and let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
12. Remove the bread from the pan and enjoy!