• Yield: Serves 10

This recipe is autumn in a loaf pan. The deep flavor of molasses is the perfect companion to crisp fall mornings, and calls back childhood memories of cooking next to grandma over a wood stove while fog slowly lifts from the mountains. In Southern Appalachia, families relied on locally-harvested sweeteners such as honey or sorghum molasses. Sweet breads like this one were reserved for celebrations and holidays, in contrast to the daily pans of cornbread or biscuits. Each bite of this rich bread tastes like the mountains, like home. The recipe comes together quickly, but be sure to sift the flour to avoid clumping in the loaf. For a more authentic flavor, use sorghum molasses. We recommend serving it warm with butter and coffee!

Book Cover with illustrated vegetables and legumes The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery by T.J. Smith


  • 2 cups flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ginger

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/3 cup melted butter

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup molasses (or 2/3 cup molasses and 1/2 cup sugar for a sweeter bread)

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk


Sift together dry ingredients and add melted butter and the molasses. Mix well, adding buttermilk and egg. Pour into a standard loaf pan (such as 9 in x 5 in loaf pan) and bake in a 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes.

Recipe excerpted as published in The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery Revised Edition. Copyright 2019 The University of North Carolina Press.