But First, I Bake!

In Print Issues by Anne Duffy

Have you ever had a deadline looming over you and instead of getting down to business you decide to clean the pantry? This happens to me quite often and my distraction/inspiration of choice is to bake something yummy to gift away. In case you are looking for a distraction or dare say a dose of inspiration, I would love to share my grandmother’s recipe for Brown Bread with all of you. I usually bake 16 cans at a time and have made as many as 48 in a day.

There is something soothing about taking the saved cans out of the cabinet, lining them up on the counter and beginning the measuring process. I am been known in every neighborhood we have lived in to deliver our “Christmas Brown Bread” continuing the tradition that dates back to my Grandma Linesch who was born in 1893. My mom passed it on to me and I still remember giving our oldest son, Michael, a set of his own cans when he moved into his first apartment. He made my heart sing when he described bringing it to his co-workers his first year on the job. Alas, the tradition continues!

A slather of cream cheese or soft butter on the top of a slice is the perfect accompaniment to your cup of coffee or hot tea, morning, afternoon or evening.

Please enjoy this family heirloom from my kitchen to yours. Pass it on and stay inspired!

Grandma Linesch’s Brown Bread

  • 2 cups of bran or oat flakes (Trader Joe’s cereal)
  • 1 cup raisins or dates or both (I use both)
  • 1 cup of nuts (I use pecans)
  • 2 cups of buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons of Molasses
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • Mix bran, dates, raisins, nuts.
  • Mix buttermilk and molasses, then mix in.
  • Stir dry ingredients together, add to mixture.
  • Grease 4 15 oz. saved vegetable cans, fill 5/8 full.
  • Bake 1 hour at 350
  • Let cool for 30 minutes.
  • Dump out and rest on a wire rack to cool.

Serve with cream cheese or butter.  Give to friends and neighbors!