It's Bread! In a Can!
February 8, 2006 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone here ever enjoyed canned bread?

Is this a New England thing? An Olde England thing? No need to post the reviews from the first page of google - I see that it is big in Japan, and that somebody made a lunar lander out of it. I'm looking for personal anecdotes and esoteric knowledge!
posted by mzurer to Food & Drink (38 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yup, the stuff's great with baked beans. It's a New England thing. I'm not sure how esoteric canned bread can be, but I hear that if you eat enough of it you achieve enlightenment.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:44 AM on February 8, 2006

I believe the plant that makes that crap is located here in Maine.
posted by machaus at 10:51 AM on February 8, 2006

Your page title is pretty much the whole story, bro.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:52 AM on February 8, 2006

Where can I get some in Indiana? I need it by today.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:53 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: I grew up on that stuff. Slice of a can and a schmear. Yum.
posted by grateful at 10:58 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: It's fantabulous with cream cheese on it. Some people lightly toast it first, but I think it's better right from the can. You just smear some cream cheese on it. Also delicious on it - apple or pumpkin butter.
posted by iconomy at 11:01 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: Seconding robocop is bleeding, yeah, it's a New England thing. I've never heard it called "canned bread," though, just "brown bread." And it's delicious, with or without raisins. Steamed hot, with butter. And baked beans.

Thanks mzurer, now I know what I'm having for dinner!
posted by drumcorpse at 11:02 AM on February 8, 2006

Sounds fantastic - is it available in the UK?!
posted by kenchie at 11:03 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: A New England thing? Uh, we have it here in California too. :)

I think the stuff is ok. It's great to take camping. Slather butter all over it and toast it for a minute. Mmmm good.
posted by drstein at 11:07 AM on February 8, 2006

So why did I never hear of it while growing up in New England? I feel so left out now.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 11:08 AM on February 8, 2006

You can order some online here.

My father used to have two hot dogs, a can of beans, and this B&M brown bread stuff for dinner every Saturday night.

I never much cared for it.
posted by briank at 11:08 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: I tried this stuff while I lived near Boston. The plain variety. I did not enjoy it, although we ate it hot, so it might be good cold. I'd rather not give it another shot, though. I am, however, mad for Moxie. If I can get that stuff in Western Mass, I'm bringing home a few cases this weekend.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:12 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: mmm, a favorite from my childhood brown bread and baked beans. I grew up in California, so maybe it made it of New England on rare occasions.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:12 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: I love love love brown bread. I have distinct childhood memories of sitting at our kitchen table (in baltimore) watching my mom crack open a can of bread and making little cream cheese sandwiches with it. YUM! Thanks for reminding me about this, I sure hope Safeway stocks it!
posted by missmobtown at 11:15 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: In my childhood years in Chicago (1970s) my dad would buy it maybe once or twice a year and we'd eat it with beans and sometimes corned beef hash, all from cans. Even as a little kid I was puzzled by bread in a can. I ate it, though.

Wouldn't buy it today, but the camping idea is cool, I guess.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:26 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: Brown bread, cream cheese, baked beans. When I was in college I suddenly realized that I hadn't eaten it in at least 10 years. It's wierd to realize that. It's like I forgot completely about something that used to be a favorite of mine.

I grew up in New Hampshire and I'm pretty sure it's a New England thing.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:44 AM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: Jesus Christ, that's disgusting. Sorry. It's not an all-over-New-England thing; I think it's a little more specific than that. My dad came from Boston, and he loves it. My mother came from the tristate area and can't stand it, and my family lives in yet another part of New England, where nobody eats it. Except my dad. Maybe it's a Boston Irish thing that spread to the rest of Massachusetts?

You must it eat hot. You can toast it or steam it or perform other exotic rituals to your taste. My dad likes to put melted butter on it, but I think that's pretty odd even for brownbread-eaters. The rest of his family use different toppings.

"Brownbread" (it's one word, and there's no such thing as "canned bread") also has a very specific pronunciation. I'll try to get my microphone hooked up so I can demonstrate.
posted by booksandlibretti at 12:02 PM on February 8, 2006

We used to get canned date-nut bread all the time when I was a kid. I'd forgotten all about that stuff. I haven't seen it in ages. I recall it being pretty darn good.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:04 PM on February 8, 2006

wow, I always thought canned bread was made up for that SpongeBob episode...
posted by Lucinda at 12:10 PM on February 8, 2006

Is the price more reasonable in Maine? Because $4.65 is pretty steep for bread in a can.
posted by smackfu at 12:10 PM on February 8, 2006's amazing to find american foods like this that I've never seen/heard of! Being from the South, I'm used to people finding OUR food strange, but I've never heard of Brown/canned bread before this very moment.
posted by griffey at 12:17 PM on February 8, 2006

I bought a can because the idea of canned bread amazed me (it's definitely not a Southwestern thing), and for years I used it as a paperweight, afraid to actually open it. It was just soooo bizarre.
posted by Sara Anne at 12:29 PM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: It's a basic sweet brown quick bread, with or without raisins. The canonical home version is steamed, not baked, so it's more like an English pudding than bread; although it works just fine baking next to the roast. Cans were the frugal New England housewife's answer to special-made bread molds. (See also Orthodox Easter bread, baked in old coffee cans.) I grew up with it as a 'bowling night' treat (Dad didn't really like it, so Mom would make it on his bowling nights). She never used the store bought stuff, but made it herself. I've also seen it called 'hobo bread', as it's easy to put a can of batter in the coals of a fire and let it cook overnight.
posted by jlkr at 12:30 PM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: My personal anecdote: A song about this product to the tune of Tom Waits' "Big in Japan" started in my head the second I saw it:

I got the bread, but not the butter
But hey it's bread in a can. Bread in a can!
posted by fidelity at 12:49 PM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: It's delicious. I think it has a variety of flours in it too (corn meal, rye flour, graham flour) along with the molasses, which makes it pretty nutritious. At least that was my mom's theory.
posted by cali at 1:02 PM on February 8, 2006

Response by poster: Fabulous! Thanks all, and briank, you're *holds finger and thumb very close* this close to a best answer, but you linked to the exact same page in your answer that I linked in my question!
posted by mzurer at 1:16 PM on February 8, 2006

Is it... wet?

God, I'm getting sick here.

Seriously, is it wet? Soggy? When I think of canned... anything, I think wet...
posted by disillusioned at 1:19 PM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: Slightly moist, like a good muffin or banana bread.
posted by platinum at 1:31 PM on February 8, 2006

I was surprised to find something similiar in England (although I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised, considering how much else we've lifted from them culturally) -- malt loaf. Strange name. Not in a can. Otherwise, pretty similar to brown bread, to this New Englander anyway.

Off I go to the supermarket for beans and brown bread!
posted by theredpen at 1:55 PM on February 8, 2006

Best answer: I also used to eat it with canned baked beans as a kid in Maine, calling it simply "brownbread." I think my mom steamed it over the pot of beans heating up. I haven't had it since childhood.

Funny that as a child I don't think I knew it was from a can, but I did know that the beans were. Hadn't thought about that before.

There are lots of food we had in Northern New England that I never knew they didn't have anywhere else until I moved to New York. Like whoopie pies.
posted by lampoil at 2:03 PM on February 8, 2006

I occasionally had it as a kid, but haven't thought about it in decades. Suddenly it's insinuating itself into the zeitgeist or something; someone mentioned it at a party a few weeks ago, and here it is over here.

Maybe I'll dig up a recipe.
posted by tangerine at 3:21 PM on February 8, 2006

Oh man, canned brown bread with some baked beans (B & M makes both, and grocery stores usually put them right near each other on the same shelf) as part of meal, or canned brown bread with apple butter as a dessert or sweet snack, are two of the best things ever.
posted by jenovus at 3:34 PM on February 8, 2006

Japanese canned bread!
posted by misozaki at 5:18 PM on February 8, 2006

If theredpen upthread is right, in that this New England brown/canned bread is in any way similar to the kind of malt loaf we get in Britain, then all I have to say is ...


Baked beans are for toast. Proper toast. Using white bread or wholemeal or some variant thereof. Preferably with Worcestershire sauce, or some salt and pepper. And maybe, according to your regional variations, melted cheese upon said toast.

Bread in a can? And you call us backwards?
posted by Len at 7:15 PM on February 8, 2006

Yep. Speaking for the state of Vermont so far, I used to have it too. Almost always with baked beans and perhaps hot dogs.

Open the can with can opener and the bread pops out, it looks similar to canned cranberry sauce in that it retains the rings of the metal.

You then cut off a slice and pop it into the toaster. Simple butter is what I remember tasting the best,
posted by jeremias at 8:44 PM on February 8, 2006

I enjoy it, and I HATE raisins. When I was a kid, there was a period when my grandmother had found a recipe for some raisin bread, made in a coffee can. That was good, too!

However, the first time (other than grandma's) I ate bread from a can, was allegedly 'Russian' black bread. That was extremely good! You may assume I add butter to anything remotely appropriate, and some things not.
posted by Goofyy at 1:39 AM on February 9, 2006

Malt loaf is a lot sweeter than "normal" bread; is this really what you can get in cans over there?

I must admit that the idea of canned bread sounds intriguing... but I presume that (a) you don't get a full (800g) loaf and (b) it's a nightmare to keep fresh once opened...
posted by Chunder at 3:46 AM on February 9, 2006

b&m brown bread is a popular brand in new england.

i still like this stuff, though it can be quite dry. i have it right out of the can, not steamed or toasted, and put cold butter on it. almost always with baked beans and sometimes hotdogs.

also, to the toast & beans chap - it's eaten with the beans, not the beans on top of, cold the next day.
posted by sporky at 12:25 PM on February 9, 2006

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