General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Where can I find a cylindrical stainless steel container that is about 4" wide by 5 1/2" deep?

Asked by Jeruba (45933points) November 18th, 2012

I don’t care what it’s meant to be used for. I just care that it’s solid and well made and water-tight.

It doesn’t even require a lid. I just want the pot or can.

It’s for making steamed brown bread. The old container was a one-pound coffee can from the days of fitted metal lids that opened with a key. I used my mother’s old Maxwell House can for more than 30 years, until it sprang a leak.

The newer coffee can I’m using now is discoloring so much after several years that I’m worried about components leaching into the brown bread.

It’s 4 inches in diameter by 5¼” deep. I could use a can a little taller, but not wider, or the proportions won’t be right. An asparagus steamer is a little too big.

Does any category of activity—whether culinary or not—call for a well-made stainless steel vessel that I could press into service for this traditional purpose? I don’t even care if it comes full of something that I have to use up or throw away; I just want the can.

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21 Answers

filmfann's avatar

Any friends in the military? I bet some of the military shops have food or coffee in cans that size

poisonedantidote's avatar

If there are any places that do sheet metal work near you, you can probably have one custom made for cheap. Some places may just make it out of some stainless steel scrap for you and not even charge you. Should only take 10 minutes to make.

Kardamom's avatar

I would check restaurant supply stores, such as Star Restaurant Equipment, either physical or online. They might have an item that is exactly for cooking that type of bread, or they might have something else, like cannisters that you store food in. If you’re able to speak to someone in person, they might have an even better idea of what to use for that purpose.

You might be able to use one of these cans for B&M Brown Bread in a Can to make your own. Not sure of the exact size, but I recall it being about the dimensions you have listed.

Earthgirl's avatar

@thorninmud GA and it’s cheap too!
@Jeruba I love Boston Brown Bread. I haven’t had it in years though.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s super easy to make and incredibly delicious. It beats what’s in that B&M can by a factor of at least 10 (not that I don’t appreciate the suggestion, @Kardamom; the can is too small, though).

But it doesn’t work without a suitable can to make it in. I have searched long and hard for a can explicitly for making steamed brown bread and finally thought to just go for the container irrespective of stated purpose.

@thorninmud, wow! That’s it. Ordering this minute. A thousand thanks! Long quest satisfied at last.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Jeruba – share your recipe please, so we can give it a try. I never heard of such a thing. OR is it a secret family thing???

jaytkay's avatar

@Kardamom B&M Brown Bread in a Can

ZOMG why can’t I find that in local stores, I love that stuff (also eagerly awaiting Jeruba’s recipe)

Jeruba's avatar

Sure. Not secret at all. I’ve never seen any sense in keeping a good recipe secret. However, I do have to amend the basic recipe with a few explanatory notes, so it’ll take me a few minutes. Check back in a little while.

First you’re going to need some All-Bran, which is still available (and you can also use it for delicious bran muffins, and it keeps for years), but you might have to look for it a little bit. And some molasses, which likewise keeps and keeps. Our grocery store no longer has my favorite variety, but other kinds are available.

And you’ll need that coffee can (or equivalent).

rooeytoo's avatar

We have All Bran on our cereal every morning, that and water keeps all systems flushing properly!! I must admit I usually substitute honey for molasses but I will buy some if you say it is an absolute. Yep, will have to hunt for a coffee can. Coffee beans here seems to come in plastic bags but I will find something.


Jeruba's avatar

A recycled vegetable or fruit can will do, well scrubbed, as long as it’s all metal and pretty much the right dimensions. But watch out for those that have pronounced ridges or furrows around the diameter because they make it hard for something solid to slide out smoothly.

The molasses is necessary. I’ve always used the mild variety. (You can always use some molasses to make gingerbread—I have an easy recipe for that, too—and molasses cookies. And of course you want some for the Boston baked beans that the brown bread is made to accompany.)

I’ve been baking cookies all evening. Recipe still to come.

Jeruba's avatar

Fannie’s Old-Fashioned Steamed Brown Bread
About 6 servings

Preparation: 15 minutes
Steaming: 3 hours

a one-pound coffee can or other empty can, clean and well scrubbed, approximately 4 inches in diameter and at least 5 or 6 inches deep (check size; a one-pound vegetable can is too small)
aluminum foil
string or rubber bands
a pot or kettle with lid, deeper than the height of the can (can will stand upright in the covered pot to steam)

1 cup All-Bran
1 cup sour milk*
½ cup raisins (optional)   I never, ever sully my brown bread with raisins.
¼ cup molasses
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

1. Put two to three inches of water into the pot and set it to boil.
2. Grease the can with butter.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine in order: All-Bran, sour milk, raisins (optional), molasses, and white sugar.
4. Sift flour with baking soda and salt and add.
5. Pour mixture into can.
6. Cover can tightly with several layers of aluminum foil and secure with rubber bands or tie with string to make a snug seal.
7. Stand the can up in the boiling water, set to a low boil, and cover the kettle. The level of boil is right when the can makes a gentle clattering sound in the kettle, not too vigorous, but steady. Do not lift the lid during the steaming process.
8. Steam for three hours.
9. Unseal the can, gently slide a knife around the inside, and turn brown bread out onto a plate. Slice and serve hot, slathered with butter.

Perfect accompaniment to Boston baked beans with molasses.

*Sour milk. Use whole milk. You can leave it out for several days to go sour and curdle, or you can just add 1⅓ tablespoons of white vinegar to it and it will curdle in a few minutes (which is what I do).

rooeytoo's avatar

Thanks @Jeruba – I will give it a try soon and let you know how I go. It sounds good! And I hate raisins so they will not be in my bread either! Cheers.

rooeytoo's avatar

Next you will have to give our recipe for baked beans, the ones in the can just don’t make it anymore! :-)

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Jeruba's avatar

This picture (and story) is very similar to mine, except that I can’t imagine frying it. It comes out moist, dense, and rich, like a muffin, only more so, and really not like “bread” at all. I never let it cool more than a few minutes, though. The illustrations are apt as well, right down to the old coffee can.

In our New England home, too, it was baked beans and hot dogs every Saturday night without fail, and steamed brown bread every week through the cold months. The soft clatter of the steaming loaf instantly says to me home, childhood, comfort, warmth, food, deliciousness, Saturday.

I’ve never baked my own beans; always relied on B&M. (Not Bush’s, not Campbell’s, and nothing with tomato sauce. It has to be molasses.) Now I’m thinking I might have to master that art at this late date.

Jeruba's avatar

And if I decide to try it, I’ll start here.

rooeytoo's avatar

That sounds like a great recipe! Thanks for searching it out! They don’t have B & M here, I am stuck with Campbells and a few others equally as nondescript.

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Dutchess_III's avatar

O @Jeruba! @Kardamom PM’d me, said you were in need of the best homemade baked beans on the planet! As follows (and gosh…I don’t measure, but I’ll give you measurements and you can adjust per your taste): I currently have a 53 oz can of Van Camps beans, so I’ll go with that. For a 53 oz I’d use
at least
1 cup of brown sugar
¾ cup of ketchup
¼ cup of mustard (easy there…)
5–8 drops of smoke sauce
1 large onion chopped up pretty well
1 or more green pepper chopped well.
At least ½ pound raw bacon.
Unless you’re using a disposable pot, line your pot with foil. Don’t forget the top. (The brown sugar will become one with your pot if you don’t, and you’ll need a jack hammer to get it off!)
Cook for at least an 2 hours at 350…I accidentally found that cooking them on low for several hours, like a roast, works even better. The longer and slower, the more everything integrates!
Also, after they’re done, you can leave on warm for a looooong time until ready to serve.
Hope you like them!

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