Do you want to make Gluten Free Old Fashioned Boston Brown Bread?  (I know you do!)  Well – start saving your 16 ounce vegetable cans.  That means – no $$$s necessary for extra kitchen equipment.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon (and, how did that happen so quickly, I ask yet again?), I’ve been searching for bread and rolls that I’ve never made before.  And, I came across this recipe in my huge inventory (albeit unorganized) of recipes.  I’m a shameless collector of recipes that interest me and there just isn’t enough time in the day or mouths to feed to make them all.  But, this one intrigued me once again.

Who doesn’t love molasses with fruit and nuts.  This one has it all.  But, Boston Brown Bread calls for whole wheat and rye flour, which are real no-nos for those following a gluten free diet.  Well – look at that – another opportunity to put together a recipe for a whole-grain gluten free flour.  See my Gluten Free Whole Grain Flour Mix recipe.  And, to give it that boost of rye flavor, check out this Authentic Foods Rye Flavor.

Boston Brown Bread is as old as America.  During the American Revolution, wheat flour was expensive and scarce, so this bread was created with corn and rye, which were much more readily available –  along with a small amount of wheat flour.  And, because most people didn’t have ovens, this bread was baked over an open fire.  The dough was place in cans and placed in boiling water where the bread was steamed – a method taught to Americans by native Indians of New England.   Coffee cans were most recently used, but I haven’t seen ground coffee in a metal can in years.  Vegetable cans work just fine.  And, I’ve also had great success just dry baking this bread in the oven.  I’ll give you both methods and you choose.


Deb Farina

Yields 3 – 9 ounce loaves

Gluten Free Old Fashioned Boston Brown Bread

20 minPrep Time

1 hrCook Time

1 hr, 20 Total Time




  • 1 cup (4.4 ounces) Gluten Free Whole Grain Flour Mix
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 4 and 1/2 teaspoons of guar gum or 3 teaspoons of xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon of gluten free rye flavor
  • 3 Tablespoons (1.7 ounces) granulated or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup molasses


  1. If using dry bake method, preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Prepare 3 – 16 ounce vegetable cans (emptied of their contents and washed and dried) by greasing generously.
  3. If using stovetop steaming method, you’ll need a deep stockpot and 3 – 6″ greased square foil pieces
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together whole grain flour mix, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  5. Stir in raisins and nuts.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk and molasses. Whisk together and add to dry ingredients. Mix on low speed 1 minute to hydrate.
  7. Divide mix evenly among the 3 prepared cans.
  8. If using dry method, bake for 45 to 50 minutes until tops spring back when lightly touched in the middle.
  9. If using stovetop steaming method, place cans in deep stockpot. Securely cover each pan with the greased foil square. Fill pan halfway up with boiling water. Cook over low to medium heat for about 2 hours. Check water level about halfway through cooking and add water, if necessary.
  10. Remove from oven or water and let cook about 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Shake bread out and cool completely before slicing. If you have difficulty removing bread from can because of the can’s rim, use a can opener to open the other end of the can and the bread will slide right out.

Buon Appetito and Happy Thanksgiving!

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