To bake bread in a can, start with a clean, rust-free can without a label. Grease the inside of the can thoroughly with vegetable shortening to prevent sticking, and place the can upright on a cookie sheet. Fill the can with dough. For heavy, yeast-free breads, fill the can 3/4 full with dough. Fill cans 1/3 full of yeast dough to allow room for the bread to rise. Start checking for doneness 10 minutes before the recipe's suggested cooking time.
One common type of bread baked in a 1-pound coffee can is Boston brown bread. To make this bread, combine 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup rye flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt until well mixed. Add 1/2 cup molasses and 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and stir until just combined. Then add 1 beaten egg and 1 cup buttermilk to the dough, and mix until just combined. Stir in 1/2 cup raisins.
Unlike other breads, Boston brown bread requires steaming while baking. So, pour the dough into a greased coffee can, and place a piece of greased foil over the top of the coffee can. Put the can in an oven-safe pot that has sides higher than the sides of the coffee can. Fill the outer pot with boiling water until it reaches the half-way point on the side of the coffee can, and cover the pot. Place the pot in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.