7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Colonial Steamed Brown Bread

Colonial Steamed Brown Bread
A big part of writing historical fiction is research. If you don’t do the history well – it’s just fiction. And trust me, you’re going to honk off a bunch of history geeks in the process. Having been that honked off history geek a time or two, I know what I’m talking about.

I love to cook and bake. Always have. It’s another creative outlet for me. Combining my love of history with my love of cooking and baking was a no-brainer. So researching colonial-era cooking for my book? That was fun!

My grandma used to make what she called Boston Brown Bread. I discovered that the Colonial Steamed Brown Bread is very close to what grandma made. I think hers was considered “Boston” because it was served with baked beans.

Tweet this: #Colonial Steamed Brown Bread #recipe on the #ColonialQuills 

Home ovens were rare in Colonial times. The fort or settlement would have one oven, maybe two, that were shared. Yeast breads were baked only when the oven was available and heated.

Steaming breads was something that could be done in the hearth over an open fire. The bread – not a yeast bread, but more like our modern-day quick breads – was poured into a bowl of some sort, placed into a Dutch Oven with water about half-way up the sides of the bowl, covered with a lid, and swung over the fire to steam for anywhere from one to three hours, depending on the size of the bowl.

Wash 3 soup cans (roughly 15 oz size) grease well, prepare your steamer, get the water boiling.

Mix together:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. cooking oil (lard or bacon grease would be more authentic)
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup milk
1 teas. salt
1 teas. baking soda

Divide into the 3 greased cans (cans will be just over 1/2 full to allow the bread to rise). Top each can with a square of aluminium foil. Secure with a rubber band or string. Set cans into the steamer. Steam for 1 hour. Remove to a rack to cool. Immediately remove foil. Cool 10 minutes. Remove bread from cans. The texture is like a moist cornbread, but the flavor is unique. Wonderful served warm with butter and jam, or for the “Boston” variety, smothered with some rich and tasty baked beans.
Colonial Steamed Brown Bread smothered in beans and sausage

~ Pegg Thomas


  1. I'm going to have to try this!

  2. Love anything colonial style :) I'll save up some soup cans and give this a try....
    thank you kindly

  3. It's worth the fuss, ladies! It's heavy on the molasses, but you can't cook Colonial without molasses!

  4. What a fun post, Pegg. My mom used to make Boston Brown Bread also.


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