7 Loaves Brown Bread
- Janet Young
3 ½ cup sugar
1 box raisins
Mix well together then add the following:
3 ½ teaspoons salt
7 teaspoons soda
¾ cup molasses (Grandmas' for dark bread)
7 cups flour (real full)
7 cups Buttermilk or 21-28 Tablespoons dry buttermilk 7 cups water
1 large pot
7 coffee cans
Place ingredients about ¾ full in coffee cans then place aluminum foil over the top (can secure with rubber bands). Fill pot with water bring to boil. Place coffee cans in boiling water. Steam three hours. Check bread every hour and refill water as needed.
My Grandmother's kitchen was always warm with the smells of baking. She prepared breads, cakes, and pies either for holidays, church event or because she always had a dessert available for consumption by family and friends. The Brown Bread recipe was a family story that my Grandmother was passing on to me as the oldest female grandchild. The story of the Brown Bread began as a secret family recipe that had been in the family for a very long time. The preparation of the cooking utensil was as important as the ingredients. The big black pot was large and heavy when filled with water and my Grandmother always spun the tale of the cans used for the bread. The cans were supposed to be old oilcans from her Great-Great Grandmother. For this recipe, I used small coffee cans. The other part of the process of the Brown Bread was retrieving the rock. It was always my job to retrieve the rock she placed on the top of the cans to keep them in place during the boiling process. We were co-conspirators with a secret that was between us not for the rest of the family. The truth was many of the families in our community were perpetuating the same family story. At Church Bazaars, many of the women in the quilting bee's had the same bread prepared. All of the men acted like each loaf of bread was different.
By selecting this recipe,
I have discussed our family history through conversations with my Father and Uncle
about what they remembered about Brown Bread.
My father related how on a farm this bread was very versatile because it
would cook on the wood stove and did not need to rise like other breads. Many of the ingredients were available on the
farm. Given the responsibilities of
children and animals, many of the families in
The beginning of
my Grandmother's family traces back to William the Conqueror who rewarded the
Ormsbee family members for their military prowess over the English (Brown 177). The first Ormsbee to arrive in
One of the ingredients of particular interest was Molasses. Molasses played a role in the history of our country. Molasses and Maple Syrup were used as a sugar substitute. The Molasses Act of 1733 created a tax of six pence on every gallon of molasses sold. The tax was to encourage the colonist to use sugar product from the British Caribbean. The Molasses Act led to the Sugar Act and continued the taxing the British used which led to the resistance and the formation of the Sons of Liberty. The secret of my Grandmother's receipt was the molasses. The brand Grandma's molasses contributed to the darker color of the bread. Currently there are different types of molasses that can change the flavor of the bread.
Shiva, Vandana. Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply. Boston: South End Press, 2000.