Quick Brown Bread

Saturday 30 November 2019

If you had to pick one thing that was synonymous with Saturday night suppers when I was growing up it would have to be the Baked Bean Supper. 

I am not sure if this is a Canadian maritime thing or not, but Saturday night in our home usually meant baked beans.

Sometimes my mother would serve them with ham and scalloped potatoes as I have shown them here today, and sometimes it would be wieners.

Ham, wieners. It didn't and doesn't matter.  Something smoky to serve with baked beans is a must!

Sometimes we would have oatmeal brown bread and sometimes we would have steamed brown bread . . .  sometimes it would just be white bread and butter, but there was always bread of some sort. 

Cornbread is also very nice.  We love cornbread.

All the better to sop up all of those delicious juices from my mother's baked beans.  They were so good you didn't want even a morsel to go to waste. 

If it had been polite to lick our plates we would have been licking our plates.

Mom always started her beans on Friday night.  She always used dried pea beans, or dried haricot beans as they are called over here in the UK. She would pick them all over and rinse them really well. 

Sometimes you might find the odd stone in a bag and it was surprising that they could sometimes be a bit dirty.  Then they would be put into her large saucepan and covered with cold water to soak overnight.

Next morning, bright and early she would bring them to the boil and then simmer them just until the skins began to split when you put a couple on a fork and blew on them. 

You knew then they were ready for the bean crock.  Oh, and a pinch of baking soda went into the water as well.  Any foam that rose to the top would be skimmed off and discarded.

Mom had an old stoneware bean crock.  She would put the simmered beans into the pot with only enough water that you could see it through the beans.  

Molasses and some brown sugar would be stirred into them along with a bit of apple cider vinegar, a spoonful of tomato ketchup, dry mustard powder, some salt and some pepper.

A whole peeled brown onion would be pushed down into the centre of them and then a slab of salt pork would be set on top.

The lid would be placed onto the crock and they would be put into a slow oven where the smell of them baking would serve to tantalise us all the day through!

Oh boy but they were some good.  Mom always kept a container of the leftovers frozen in the freezer, even after we had all gotten married and left home. 

Baked beans are something which freezes very well.  They are one of those things which tastes even better a day or two later!

You could almost guarantee that when we came home for a visit some would be thawed out and our first supper would be mom's home baked beans and brown bread. 

We didn't really want anything fancy.  Just that simple meal.

It makes me a bit sad that I will never again have the pleasure of sitting down to my mom's homemade baked beans and brown bread  . . .  

I know I can make them myself, but somehow what I make never ever comes up to what the memory of hers tastes like. 

Yield: Makes one loaf

Quick Brown Bread

Quick Brown Bread

A moist and delicious whole wheat quick bread, sweetened with molasses that goes perfectly well with baked beans!


  • 240ml buttermilk (1 cup)
  • 280g whole wheat flour (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 120ml molasses (1/2 cup)
  • 60ml sunflower oil (1/4 cup)


How to cook Quick Brown Bread

  1. Preheat the oven to  180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a 9 X 5 inch loaf tin really well and line the base with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and soda together in a bowl.  Whisk together the molasses, buttermilk, egg and oil.  Add all at once to the dry mixture and stir all together just to combine.  Pour into the prepared loaf tin.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, until risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before tipping out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Serve cut into slices and buttered.

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This is the perfect recipe to end November on.  Comfort season is in full session now!  Bring it on!! 

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  1. Saturday night supper was baked beans and franks, with B&M (canned) brown bread growing up in New England. We'd toast the brown bread and slather with butter. It's nice to find a recipe for home made brown bread.

    1. Oh, I love B&M canned brown bread, and steamed brown bread in general. This is not quite the same as there is no cornmeal, but it is pretty delicious nonetheless I promise! xoxo

  2. We always had baked beans on Saturday night. Grandfather would make the beans and Mom would make white bread. Usually hot dogs but sometimes ham. Mom's family was of French Canadian origin and Dad's was New England Yankee. Both cultures had the habit of baked beans. No work was allowed on the Sabbath so heated up baked beans and baked bean sandwiches were on the menu in early days.

    1. My father is French Canadian also James! I loved reading about your family traditions! xo

  3. This one looks especially delicious -- and I even have the ingredients!

  4. Can I substitute molasses with honey?

    1. I never have done, but I cannot see why not. It will not be quite as dark however and there will be a light difference in flavour.

  5. You have now given me a good reason to get some molasses.
    I have a few questions, though.
    How long does this keep? Does it have to be refrigerated?
    Can this be made with melted butter instead of oil?
    Do you have any other serving suggestions?

    1. It will keep for quite a while, tightly wrapped. It also freezes well. I tend to cut it in half and freeze half for the future when I bake this. I have never made it with melted butter myself so I cannot say for sure. It is lovely as above with baked beans and ham, but also very good with soups and chilies. It also makes a really delicious grilled cheese! I also like it toasted and then buttered, sometimes with a bit of marmalade and jam. I hope I have given you some food for thought. Oh yes, it stores well at room temperature, although you could certainly refrigerate it if you wish.

  6. This bread is fabulous! We ate the first loaf so quickly that I've already had to make a second batch.

    1. I am so pleased that you enjoyed this Kelly! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your feedback on this recipe. It is very much appreciated! xo


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