Boston Brown Bread

MAKES: 1 large or 2 small loaves

TIME: About 11/2 hours, largely unattended

This soft-crusted bread, traditionally eaten with Baked Beans, is best with a mixture of flours. Although it can be baked or steamed, I prefer baking. Stir up to 1 cup of raisins into the prepared batter if you like.

Butter or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, for the pans

2 cups buttermilk or yogurt, or 2 cups less 2 tablespoons milk plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar (see Step 2)

3 cups assorted flours, such as 1 cup each rye, cornmeal, and whole wheat or all-purpose

11/2 teaspoons salt

11/4 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup molasses or maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 300В°F. Liberally grease two 8 Г— 4-inch loaf pans or one 9 Г— 5-inch pan.

If youв’re using buttermilk or yogurt, ignore this step. If not, make the soured milk: Warm the milk gently 1 minute in the microwave is sufficient, just enough to take the chill off and add the vinegar. Let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients.

Mix the dry ingredients, then add the sweetener and buttermilk. Stir just until mixed; this is a loose batter, not a dough. Pour or spoon into the loaf pan(s) and bake for 1 hour or a little longer, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pans; eat warm.