Brown bread gets its signature shape from a coffee can mold and its acidic tang from buttermilk and molasses. Get the recipe for Brown Bread ». Todd Coleman

Chewy and dark, this bread gets its acidic tang from buttermilk and molasses. A coffee can molds the loaf into its signature cylinder shape. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Gabriella Gershenson’s article Full of Beans.

Yield: serves 6-8


  • 12 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  • 12 cup rye flour
  • 14 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 14 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 tsp. baking powder
  • 14 tsp. baking soda
  • 12 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 12 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Butter, for greasing and serving


  1. Heat oven to 300°. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, rye, whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, salt, and baking powder and soda; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together molasses, buttermilk, and egg until smooth; pour over dry ingredients, and stir with a spoon until just combined. Transfer to a cleaned and greased 13-oz. metal coffee can, and cover can with a piece of foil; place in the center of a 6-qt. saucepan. Pour 6 cups water into pot around can, and bring to a boil over high heat. Transfer pan to oven, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean, 2½–3 hours.
  2. Remove can from water bath, and let cool for 20 minutes. Uncover and unmold bread from can; let cool completely. Slice into thick rounds and spread with butter.