Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

Diary of an Inconsistent Cook #67: New England Anadama Bread (#homecooking)

If you haven’t had Anadama Bread (a cornmeal and molasses bread), you might be surprised at how chewy and moist it is.  The molasses flavor is present, but not overpowering. Magically delicious. You don’t have to take my word for it, just hear what my kids declared:  “The best bread ever, Mom!”

There is a recipe (because this is bread and guidance is needed) for oven loaves and for a bread machine.

Tip:  Don’t skip the porridge preparation
Tip:  Don’t substitute blackstrap molasses it does have more iron, but it is bitter and less sweet. I am not saying you can’t choose to substitute, but be aware they taste different for a reason.

 

Anadama Bread (2 loaves)

2 cups water
½ cup cornmeal
*½ cup unsulphured molasses
2 tbsp butter (or butter flavored shortening would work if need be)
1 tsp salt

(example brands:  first or light Grandma’s Original or Grandma’s robust;  Brer Rabbit mild flavor or full flavor. Organic brands also available.  Note that people of the time this bread was invented very likely would have used lighter molasses for more delicate baked goods and “at the table flavoring”, and darker molasses for more robust baked goods like breads and ginger cookies. Experiment with both to see which you like best.)

Combine molasses (if you lightly oil the measuring cup the molasses will not cling), butter, water, and salt in boiling water (or double boiler) whisk in cornmeal into the water.  Cover, turn off heat, and let sit overnight (If you want it faster let cook over the double boiler on low covered for at least an hour). Sitting overnight lends a better texture and flavor, but as long as you add the porridge and not just dry cornmeal you will get the moist, chewy texture.  The cornmeal mush should be lukewarm or room temperature before using.

For the yeast:
Combine:
1/8 cup warm water
1 tbsp yeast
(let rest a few minutes to test for “aliveness”; it will foam a bit)
add to the lukewarm cornmeal porridge
let “wake-up” a few minutes more


For the bread:

Combine:
Cornmeal mush and yeast and five cups of bread flour (you may also be brave and experiment by substituting some of the bread flour with 2 cups whole wheat flour; or 1 cup of rye flour; or 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup rye).  Knead into a sticky (not wet) dough by hand or with a mixer.  Cover and let rise at least one hour (until double).  You may need to add more liquid to get the right sticky texture since the moisture content of flour varies. On floured surface, knead dough a few minutes.  Split dough in half, form into loaves (if using loaf pans grease or oil pans to avoid sticking).  Cover and let prove in a warm place for an hour or until double.

Bake 400-425F for 20 minutes (watch your oven).  Then turn oven down to 375F and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes more.


For Bread Machine:

Prepare porridge as above (without adding yeast) and use half or use the amount below:
1 cup water, ¼ cup molasses, 1 tbsp butter, ½ tsp salt, ¼ cup yellow cornmeal

Add to bread machine:
Prepared cornmeal porridge
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp yeast

Setting:  Basic loaf; medium or dark crust

Watch the kneading phase, you may need to add a bit more liquid to get the sticky dough depending on the flour moisture content.

Bonus:

Feeling lucky? I bet you are.
For those who want to weigh ingredients try this weighted recipe (I have not tested this):

300g all-purpose or bread flour
100g whole wheat flour
100g rye flour
100g corn meal
14 g instant yeast
14 g salt
28 g butter
35 g dark molasses

530 g water

 

Tip:  you may need to add more liquid to the dough if it is too dry.
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This entry was posted on August 24, 2017 by in bread, cooking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

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