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Coffee & Tea

New England Bread

(New England-style) Brown Bread Cooked in a Coffee Can - Safe?


Coffee & Tea 7

(New England-style) Brown Bread Cooked in a Coffee Can - Safe?

NEChef | Jun 15, 2011 08:33 AM

I know there is an older thread on the general topic of cooking bread in a can, but I thought I'd start a new one, regarding brown bread.

Those of us who grew up in New England probably grew up eating B&M Brown Bread, a moist, subtley sweet bread made with wheat and rye flours, cornmeal, and molasses (among other ingredients.) It comes in a can, and the canned version to me, has always been "authentic" New England fare. (B&M in Portland has been making it since the late 1800s.) But, I know that it can also be homemade and is often a staple at traditional "Ham and Bean Suppers" which are still hosted in many New England towns.

It is generally cooked in an old coffee can, which is placed in boiling water to "steam" for several hours. As with the B&M version, the bottom of the can is then removed, and the bread is pushed out the top for slicing. I've been dying to make this myself, but suddenly realized that it may be unsafe. Tin cans are not what they used to be, and many are lined with BPA. I'm not a fanatic about BPA in my cans, although I know it can be unsafe, but I'm very worried when it comes to heating such a can at high heat for cooking purposes. The other thread also said that some cans are aluminum and lined with a polymer which would also be unsafe at high heat. (And the bread can take up to 4 hours to steam... that's a long time for it to be sitting in hot BPA or synthetic polymer.)

Has anyone made brown bread, or another bread, in a can? Have you thought of this issue? Is there a source for plain old tin cans or steel cans lined with tin? Alternatively, does anyone have a source for some other mold which is similar to a coffee can but made for cooking?


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