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New England or Boston brown bread is a type of dark, slightly sweet bread (usually a quick bread) popular in New England. It is cooked by steam in a can, or cylindrical pan.
Brown bread's color comes from a mixture of flours, usually a mix of several of the following: cornmeal, wheat, whole wheat, graham flour, or rye, and from the addition of sweeteners like molasses and maple syrup. Leavening most often comes from baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) though a few recipes use yeast. Raisins are often added. The batter is poured into a can, and cooked in a double boiler. While most variations are quick breads, and can be made in less than an hour, several commercial brands are available. Brown bread is somewhat seasonal, being served mostly in fall and winter, and is frequently served with baked beans.