Anadama Bread – Love From Another Era

Winter is still here, damn her. Time to go through the recipe box again. Being held captive by the weather leaves Mama D with more time on her hands, My cooking adventures usually involve new recipes, but today I pulled out an oldie but a goody, Anadama Bread.

I made this recipe back in the day…the day being the early 70’s. It was in my earth mother hippie days when I baked bread every week. I also made dandelion wine and yogurt. The yogurt was actually very good, the wine, not so much. Anyway, back then the aroma of this bread as it baked was blissful. Sweet and yeasty with just the faintest scent of corn. The taste echoed the aroma and had subtle chewiness that the cornmeal imparted. A thick slice of Anadama Bread still warm from the oven, thickly spread with butter was, and is, one of the best tastes on earth.DIGITAL CAMERA How could I have forgotten about this?

There are many different recipes for this New England bread. The ingredients are usually the same save for slightly different measurements. The way the ingredients are combined varies slightly; you either make cornmeal mush or you don’t. DIGITAL CAMERAWhy?  you may ask. The story goes that a Fisherman’s wife in Massachusetts named Anna gave her husband the same cornmeal mush for breakfast every day. Sick and tired of it, he took matters into his own hands and added molasses and flour as he muttered (undoubtedly in a thick Boston accent) “Anna, damn her.” However the bread and the name came to be, this molasses and cornmeal bread is great toasted, as a sandwich base or dipped into soup or stew.

It is made like most other yeast breads which means you’ll be spending about 20 minutes making it and a couple of hours waiting for it to be ready. Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoy making bread by hand. I mix it with a wooden spoon and spend the necessary time kneading by hand to create smooth and elastic dough, just like I did back in the “old days.” All that’s missing are the embroidered jeans and bandana.

My recipe combines the cornmeal, yeast and half the flour in a bowl. The butter and molasses are added with hot tap water to create a soft dough.DIGITAL CAMERA More flour is added until the a “kneadable” dough comes together. Then the requisite 10 minutes of kneading happens resulting in that smooth and elastic dough.DIGITAL CAMERA The dough then takes an oil bathed rest for an hour or so.DIGITAL CAMERA

It gets punched down (that always sounds so mean to me) and formed into loaves.DIGITAL CAMERA It nestles into a loaf pan and rests for another hour before it goes into the oven to bake for 30 minutes or so. DIGITAL CAMERA

The bread comes out of the oven begging to be eaten, but wait at least a few minutes to cut in. I usually restrain myself for 10 minutes or so.

Anadama Bread
Print Recipe
Delicious bread made with corn meal and molasses.
Servings
2 Loaves
Servings
2 Loaves
Anadama Bread
Print Recipe
Delicious bread made with corn meal and molasses.
Servings
2 Loaves
Servings
2 Loaves
Ingredients
Servings: Loaves
Instructions
  1. Mix 2-1/2 cups flour, salt, cornmeal and undissolved yeast in a large bowl. Mix in the butter.
  2. Alternate adding the hot water and the molasses, Beat for two minutes. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough.
  3. Turn onto a floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic. This should take 10 minutes or so. form into a ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft free place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour)
  4. Punch dough down. On a floured board, turn the dough out and divide in half. Form each piece into a loaf shape and put in a greased 8 X 4 loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled (45-60 minutes).
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. The top should be golden and the bottom should sound slightly hollow when tapped. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
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It’s actually a lovely way to spend an afternoon and the end result is incredibly worth it.    Love, Mama D

 

 

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