Old-Fashioned Boston Brown Bread

Delight Your Taste Buds with Old-Fashioned Boston Brown Bread: A Timeless Classic

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Step back in time and savor the nostalgia of old-fashioned baking with our delightful recipe for Boston Brown Bread. This traditional New England treat combines wholesome ingredients like wheat flour, buttermilk, and molasses to create a moist and flavorful loaf that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re craving a slice for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea, this Boston Brown Bread recipe is sure to satisfy your taste buds and warm your soul.


  • 2 1/2 cups wheat flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water, boiling
  • Butter, for garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C) and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, molasses, and egg until well combined.
  4. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
  5. Fold in the raisins until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  7. Place the loaf pan in a larger baking dish and pour the boiling water into the outer baking dish, creating a water bath.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Once cooled, slice the Boston Brown Bread and serve with a generous pat of butter.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • For a richer flavor, you can substitute some of the buttermilk with sour cream or yogurt.
  • Feel free to customize the add-ins to your liking. Chopped nuts, dried cranberries, or chopped dates would make delightful additions to this bread.
  • To make individual-sized muffins instead of a loaf, simply divide the batter evenly among greased muffin tins and adjust the baking time accordingly.

Keto and Low Carb Versions:

  • While Boston Brown Bread is traditionally made with wheat flour and molasses, you can create a low-carb version by using almond flour or coconut flour in place of wheat flour.
  • Substitute the molasses with a low-carb sweetener such as erythritol or stevia to reduce the sugar content.
  • Instead of raisins, consider using chopped nuts or unsweetened dried berries for added flavor and texture.
  • Serve the low-carb Boston Brown Bread with a spread of sugar-free jam or whipped cream cheese for a satisfying treat without the guilt.

In conclusion, Old-Fashioned Boston Brown Bread is a timeless classic that brings comfort and joy to any table. With its hearty texture, rich flavor, and wholesome ingredients, this bread is a testament to the simple pleasures of home baking. Whether enjoyed fresh out of the oven or toasted with a slather of butter, Boston Brown Bread is sure to become a beloved favorite in your household. So, roll up your sleeves, preheat your oven, and let the aroma of freshly baked bread fill your kitchen. Happy baking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Q: Can I make this bread without raisins? A: Yes, you can omit the raisins if desired or substitute them with other dried fruits or nuts of your choice.

Q: Can I use whole wheat flour instead of wheat flour? A: Absolutely! Whole wheat flour can be used interchangeably with wheat flour in this recipe for a heartier loaf.

Q: Can I use regular milk instead of buttermilk? A: While buttermilk adds a tangy flavor and tender texture to the bread, you can substitute it with regular milk or a milk alternative mixed with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.

Q: Can I make this bread in a bread machine? A: Yes, you can adapt this recipe for a bread machine by following the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and baking times.

Q: How should I store leftover bread? A: Store leftover Boston Brown Bread in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze sliced bread for longer storage and reheat individual slices in a toaster or microwave as needed.

Q: Can I add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter? A: Absolutely! Feel free to customize the flavor of the bread by adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger for a warm and aromatic twist.

Q: Can I make this bread vegan? A: Yes, you can make this bread vegan by substituting the egg with a flaxseed or chia seed egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water) and using a plant-based milk such as almond milk or soy milk instead of buttermilk.

Q: Can I make mini loaves instead of one large loaf? A: Yes, you can divide the batter among smaller loaf pans or mini muffin tins to create individual-sized servings. Just adjust the baking time accordingly based on the size of the pans used.

Q: Can I toast slices of this bread? A: Absolutely! Toasting slices of Boston Brown Bread adds a delightful crunch and enhances the flavors. Simply slice the bread, toast it in a toaster or under the broiler until golden brown, and enjoy with your favorite toppings.

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