When I made pork buns, I remembered that my wife at one time made steamed brown bread and reminded her of it. She immediately got into action and, on one weekend, made this steamed brown bread. According to her, the classic should have been steamed in a can but she made it in deep ramekins. She said she reduced the amount of molasses since I am not particularly fond of strong molass-y flavor. According to her, this bread is eaten with honey cream cheese which she also whipped up by mixing honey and cream cheese. She sliced thin disks of the bread and smeared on the honey cream cheese. This was really good as a snack or even breakfast.
First, she arranged thusly (above). I said it looks like packman. So she rearranged below.
Here I ask my wife to take over.
This recipe is from a book entitle “Quick Breads” by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
2 cups All Purpose flour
2 cups cornmeal
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup karo syrup + 1/3 cup dark molasses (This combination is what Pa Dutch recipes call “table molasses”. I did this to tone down the molasses flavor to accommodate my husband who is not overly fond of it. If you really like molasses then just use molasses and no Karo for 2/3 cup molasses).
2/3 cup raisins.
In a large mixing bowl stir the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt until blended. Combine the buttermilk and molasses. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry. Mix until well blended. Add the raisins. This bread is steamed. I prepared a Dutch oven by putting a steamer on the bottom and filling with enough water to come half way up the side of the container I was using. In this case I used several deep ramekins. I spooned the batter into the ramekins until they were 2/3 full. I tightly covered them with aluminum foil then put them in the steaming pot, water gently boiling so the water came 1/2 the way up the ramekin. I covered the pot and steamed them for about 45 minutes or until a tooth pick came out clean. I removed the bread from the ramekins and let it cool. I sliced the small round loaves in 1/2 inch slices and slathered them with cream cheese with honey mixed in.
This is a very hearty flavorful bread with a bit of tang from the molasses and the buttermilk. The texture is pleasingly dense but moist. The cream cheese offsets the tang and is a perfect accompaniment.