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What is Canned Bread? History & Taste

What is Canned Bread? History & Taste

Canned bread is basically bread that is canned but unlike the usual bread you buy in loaves, canned bread can last longer than the ones you buy in bakeries. The bread is typically made from whole wheat flour, cornmeal, and molasses.

Slightly gross and weird? Absolutely. American? Obviously!

History of Canned Bread

Most sources said that the colonists in New England invented Canned Bread. They started using wheat and rye in making canned bread because they were easy to get and cheap.

Since they did not have ovens back then, they would just cook it over open fire and steam it instead of baking it. To make it a little sweeter, they sometimes mix it with molasses and become a version of steamed pudding. 

In the 1920s to 1930s, you can already see canned breads which are similar to what we have today in grocery stores. Such unique ways of making bread are loved by many.

Canned breads are steam-cooked in a can and their main ingredients are whole wheat flour, cornmeal, and molasses. This food gives a nostalgic vibe to families and is popular around the holidays.

How does Canned Bread Taste?

Canned bread is as sweet and dense as a cake because it is steamed in a can mould until it rises.

B&M’s canned brown bread has a dense texture and a rye bread-like flavor which is similar to a muffin. With that, people usually have it for breakfast with a smear of butter.

How to Open Canned Bread

Since Canned Bread comes in a can, you will need an can opener to crack the lid off and then jiggle out the roll of bread. In an emergency you can use a knife to open the lid of the can.

How is Canned Bread Eaten?

Usually, canned bread is sliced and served with either cream cheese, butter or jam. A New England tradition involves putting chopped hotdogs and baked beans on top of the bread.

This recipe has been carried on by some companies like B&M alongside their Boston Baked Beans. Locals usually have it during holidays because it reminds them of their childhood. 

That is why this bread is popularly known and is produced in some other parts of the Northern United States already. You can even get it from Amazon and some local grocery stores outside the Northeast.

Shelf Life

Canned bread has a shelf life of two years. This means it is good for emergencies and a great failsafe to have in your pantry.


The ingredients in Canned Bread are as follows:

  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Whey
  • Rye Flour
  • Degerminated Yellow Cornmeal
  • Buttermilk
  • Baking Soda
  • Molasses
  • Dextrose
  • Corn Oil
  • Water
  • Salt

Watch: Tasting Canned Bread

Check out this video of a guy trying out canned bread for the first time.

Photo credit: Mike McCune

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