Whole grain, steamed, rather than baked, this brown bread is lovely topped with butter or cream cheese and it can be served at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
By Carol Egbert
Early settlers in New England had to make bread with limited resources. Cornmeal and rye flour were less expensive than wheat flour and molasses was less expensive than most other sweeteners. Not every home had an oven but virtually every home had a fireplace and steaming was an easy way to control the heat of a wood fire.
- ½ cup (60g) wholemeal flour
- ½ cup (60g) rye flour
- ½ cup (80g) cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup (50g) currants
- ½ cup (120ml) molasses
- ½ cup (120ml) milk
- 120 ml / ½ cup yogurt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- Combine wholemeal flour, rye flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, allspice, ginger and currants in a medium bowl.
- Add molasses, milk, yogurt, vanilla and orange zest, stir until well combined.
- Grease the inside of two straight-sided, wide mouth canning jars with butter, divide batter evenly between the two jars. Cover top of each jar with a double thickness of aluminum foil.
- Put jars in slow cooker, add boiling water to surround jars to depth of 5 cm/ 2 in.
- Cook on high setting for 2 hours or until toothpick inserted near center of bread comes out clean.
- Remove jars from cooker, cool for fifteen minutes before removing bread from jars. Cool completely before cutting.
Steaming, a more gentle way of cooking than baking, is more flexible in terms of cooking time, and steamed brown bread is the least demanding bread and most energy efficient, mine and the power company’s, bread I’ve ever made.