Today was a bread making day. We had some great bread recipes from Irish Soda to Anadama and Pain Rustique. We decided to spend some time baking since a few of the breads were made with yeast and demanded a time commitment. I took on a traditional Irish soda bread, which I will cover later this week. Jeff decided to make the Anadama Bread.
Some of you must be thinking, what is Anadama Bread? According to the storyline from Yankee Magazine, There are loads of stories about how this bread got its name and where it originated. Most people agree it's either Rockport or Gloucester, Massachusetts, and that the name is a derivative of "Anna, damn her." Some say Anna was the "lazy" wife of a fisherman (as if a fisherman's wife could be lazy), who simply mixed molasses and cornmeal together for her husband's meals. One day, sick of the mush, he added flour and yeast, baked it, and created a new concoction. Others say the name comes from a woman who was a gifted baker, and when she passed away, her gravestone read, "Anna was a lovely bride, but Anna, damn 'er, up and died."
This recipe comes from Jasper White who uses more cornmeal and less molasses than the traditional Anadama Bread. It is wonderfully moist and reminds me of cornbread with an English muffin toast twist. It's a perfect bread for breakfast and tastes delicious with jam or butter. For those who have not taken on yeast recipes, it was fairly easy to make.
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1-1/4 cups (approx.) warm water (105-115 degrees), divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons dark molasses
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3-1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for work surface
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- Vegetable oil or butter
- 1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water (egg wash)
In a medium-size bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer with hook attachment), combine yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup warm water; mix well. Add melted butter, molasses, salt, flour, and cornmeal. Slowly add up to 1 cup more warm water; mix to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. Add more water if necessary. Knead by machine about 10 minutes, or by hand about 15 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
Oil (or butter) a large bowl lightly. Shape dough into a ball and place in the bowl; turn it once so it's lightly greased all over. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and place in a warm, draft-free spot. Let dough rise until volume doubles, about 1 hour.
Grease two 9-1/2x5-inch loaf pans. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut in half and shape each half into a loaf. Place each loaf in a pan, return to a warm spot, and let rise until volume doubles, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the loaves with egg wash and bake 1 hour, or until deep golden brown. To test for doneness, remove one hot loaf from its pan and tap the bottom of the bread; you'll hear a hollow sound if it's done. If it's not done, return it to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. When loaves are done, turn them out of their pans and cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes.