Anadama Bread

November 10, 2011

This weekend, yet again, I baked up another recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It came out looking like this:

This beautiful little loaf is called Anadama Bread, and what makes it special is its use of cornmeal and molasses in combination with the standard flour, yeast, and water. I started this bread by making a cornmeal mush soaker (just a mix of equal parts cornmeal and water), which I let sit overnight, and then mixed into a dough the following morning, pouring a generous amount of molasses in at the last mixing stage. All in all it was a very fun and fairly easy process—though a little stickier than usual, what with all that molasses! However, I think what I like most about this bread is its name, which has a wonderful (though, like most wonderful things, probably apocryphal) origin story, that goes something like this:

A Rockport, Massachusetts man was upset with his wife, not only for leaving him, but also for leaving behind only a pot of cornmeal mush and some molasses. The angry husband tossed the mush and molasses together with some yeast and flour and muttered, “Anna, damn ‘er!” This was later amended by the more genteel local Yankees, as they retold the story, to anadama. (from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice)

You can decide for yourself whether to believe the story. Whatever the facts may be, one thing’s for sure: this is one tasty bread. The cornmeal brings an nice heartiness and grit to the crumb, and the molasses adds a wonderful aroma to every bite. The crust also turned out very well with this batch: crisp and crunchy, but at the same time light and yielding nicely to the softness inside.

If you don’t already own The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, you can easily find other recipes for Anadama Bread online. Join me next week when my bread baking adventures continue!

Until we eat again,



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