You will need four empty cans, about 28 ounce (796 mL) size. (No this one isn't empty, but I am showing it to you for a "rough" example of what size you need. I bought it special, just for you all out there and this recipe post. Think also of "family size" soup cans, since that is what my MIL uses). Grease your clean and dry cans and set aside.
You can preheat your oven to 225° now if you want, or you can turn it on to that temperature when you are ready to put your bread loaves in the oven. You get to pick when, just don't forget to turn it on.
Mix together in a large bowl:
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 tsp baking soda
Add and stir to combine:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
Add and mix in:
1 cup of raisins (If a few extra fall in, nothing horrible will happen. I promise, I have never been struck by lightening when extra fall into my BBB, and extras are always falling in when I make it. If you are thinking you will be sharing this with your dogs, you can leave them out, but yes, I am sure diced dried apples will be fine. Let me know how it turns out when you do it.)
Fill each of your greased cans half full with batter (which will be thick). I promise, you really don't want to over fill your cans!
Cover each can with greased foil and bake at 225° for 2 1/2 hours. Test with a long skewer to make sure it is done all the way through.
Remove from oven, remove foil and let cool on a rack for about 40 minutes.
(See why you don't want to overfill your cans?)
After the forty minutes are up, run a knife around the bread in the can, and remove. Let sit on rack to finish cooling.
My MIL's mother used to use screw-top coffee cans in a steamer, as did my MIL. But, "When we were planning to go to Indiana for a year I debated whether I should take the steamer and cans which I had been given after her death. A friend told me that since the cans were covered I didn't need the steam - I just needed to keep the temperature about what the steam would be. I started doing it in the oven. This meant I could do two batches at a time. I switched to tall Welch's grape juice cans and aluminum foil which made 3 loaves per recipe. When the tall cans were no longer available I used shorter V8 juice cans and now use the family size soup cans (4 cans per recipe)."
Super easy to make, well worth the time, and "Oh, so very delicious!" (No mixers involved, so safe for someone to do with her kids). Store in the refrigerator, and it freezes well.