The Truth About Canned Bread

Unless you're from New England, the idea of canned bread probably sounds really, really odd. Bread is supposed to be something that's fresh from the baker's oven, right? And if it's stored at all, it's typically wrapped in plastic, not encased in a can. You're not likely to see canned goods in the bread aisle of your local grocery store, so why is anyone putting bread in cans?

This peculiar food product is indeed bread, but it's not exactly what you might think of when picturing a loaf of bread. 

Where did canned bread come from?

Who exactly had the bright idea of putting bread in a can, anyway? Turns out, we can look to colonial New Englanders for that answer. Commonly known as Boston brown bread, it's believed to have been created by early Americans with rye and cornmeal, and it was steamed, rather than baked in an oven, simply because ovens weren't always available (via The Chicago Tribune). Some added molasses to provide it with a better taste and yes, it was actually cooked in a can. 

According to New England Today, by the mid-1800s, canned meats and veggies were popular items with the public, and Burnham & Morrill (a.k.a. B&M) was doing good business in New England. B&M eventually began selling canned brown bread, and the company is still stocking it on grocery store shelves today. 

What does canned bread taste like?

So the big question all you non-Yankees are undoubtedly wondering is, "What does canned bread taste like?" While it may not look particularly appetizing with its rings around the edges, similar to a cylinder of canned cranberry sauce, it has a somewhat sweet taste because of the molasses, and has a crumbly texture similar to a bran muffin. Sometimes it might include raisins for added sweetness, and while it's probably not ideal for a sandwich, cream cheese, jam, and butter are popular spreads. Some people prefer to serve it hot with a side of beans and franks. 

Canned bread really seems like it's one of those foods where if you grew up eating it, then it probably holds a special place in your heart. If not, then it very well might taste as good as it looks. "That's not very good at all," said one YouTube review. "There's something kind of odd about this. I'm not feeling it," said another reviewer