Boston Brown Bread, baked beans, and a canned peach half

Boston Brown Bread, baked beans, and a canned peach half

In Toronto the weather the last few days has finally started to show signs of spring.  Birds, rain, warmer temperatures during the day, the usual yadda yadda.  The weather forecasts predict, though, that things will get cold (negative double-digits at night) again next week.  Food wise, early spring is actually the time when it is probably most difficult to eat seasonally and locally in places like southern Ontario.  The spring’s first delicacies (ramps, fiddleheads, morels, and asparagus) won’t be ready until May and by the latter half of March and into April the fall crops that were stored for the winter will begin to falter (most potatoes, some apples, and cabbage for instance).  One crop that lasts a lot longer in storage is dried beans.  These are great as baked beans and even better if accompanied by the classic Boston Brown Bread.

The mixed dough/batter

The mixed dough/batter

This is a straightforward quick bread (no yeast) that makes use of a trio of grains (whole wheat, corn, and rye) and gets its rich flavour from a good amount of molasses.  More seasolocavore points are scored by using dried apricots and raisins in the dough to add taste and texture contrast.  The baking technique is a bit out of the ordinary as well.  Most recipes call for sealing the dough in a coffee can or similar vessel and baking in a bain marie.  This way the bread is cooked in large part by the steam inside the can.

You may have to McGyver things a little to get your bread out of the can once cooked.  Most coffee cans have a lip around the top opening that makes the diameter of the opening smaller than that of the can.  Solution:  Remove the can’s bottom with a can opener.

Looks can be deceiving.  This bread tastes much less industrial than it looks.

Looks can be deceiving. This bread tastes much less industrial than it looks.

The log-shaped loaf of Boston Brown Bread doesn’t look pretty on its own but sliced and served with baked beans and halved canned peaches it tastes great.

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