Canned Bread: A Historical Taste Sensation!

Written By Elly Mitchell
in Want

The words ‘canned’ and ‘bread’ are arguably the most ill-sorted items to sit together in a sentence. However, take yourself on a trip to New England, and this obscure menu choice becomes the makings of a quintessential childhood tradition.

Despite its appearance being miles apart from your recognizable, freshly baked loaf, this dense, moist comfort food is created using natural ingredients, making it high in fiber and very low in calories—who would have thought it?

B&M Canned bread. A firm staple of the New Englander diet. (Photo: mccun934/Flickr)
B&M Canned bread. A firm staple of the New Englander diet. (Photo: mccun934/Flickr)

Canned bread was traditionally steamed in coffee cans, due to the scarcity of ovens. The recipe dates back to 17th century America and, to this day, is formulated using the three staple, and often the only available, ingredients of early American cooking; cornmeal, rye flour, and molasses, offering a texture that is both dense and crumbly; much like cake.

How should I eat canned bread?

Of course, it’s not surprising that such a quirky delicacy has a recommended serve outside the parameters of regular bread—you won’t be using it for your standard lunchbox sandwich, that’s for sure!

It is most popularly served straight out of the can, sliced and slathered in butter, jam, or cream cheese. Alternatively, if you’re feeling particularly inspired by the prospect of further canned goods, you can enjoy it topped with baked beans.

As if that isn’t enough, there are also sweet versions available, using raisins to create a further versatile treat.

Where can I get it?

Canned bread, or as it’s known outside of New England, Boston brown bread, is recognizable from its B&M branding. B&M, more famous for baked beans, makes canned bread at a factory in Casco Bay, Portland. Canned bread can be found on the shelves of most supermarkets, but it has also landed itself on mainstream sales sites such as Amazon, meaning it’s accessible for anyone who fancies a taste of the peculiar!