The first recipe in the BBA Challenge is anadama bread. Anadama bread is a New England bread - which surprised me, as I'd never heard of it in my life, despite growing up in New England! Maybe Connecticut just isn't cool enough.
This recipe is a pretty basic loaf bread, with the addition of cornmeal and molasses. The first step was to soak the cornmeal overnight. Now, it called for a coarse-ground meal, but all I had was fine-ground white cornmeal, so I just used that.
Next is to make a sponge, with yeast, water, flour, and the soaker. My sponge didn't get quite as bubbly as I'd expected, even after I let it sit an extra half hour. I grew impatient, and continued on anyway.
Once the sponge was ready, it was time to mix in the remaining
ingredients - more flour, salt, butter, and, of course, molasses.
Mr. Reinhart advocated for using a light molasses, but I happen
to be a huge molasses fan. So I used my strong, dark molasses, but I did use only 2/3s of what was called for in the recipe.
Kneading was a bit of a challenge, but I'm really still working out my technique in this area. After 20 minutes, with my dough still not passing the window-pane test (though it was close!), I gave up and just set it to rise.
Stacey had given me a heads-up at this point that hers moved a lot faster than the recipe indicated and accordingly I kept a close eye on mine and it had finished about 30 minutes early.
From there it was time to divide and shape! I've actually never made a loaf bread, but I think the shaping went well. The dividing though... well, let's just say this is one of those instances where I really wish I had a kitchen scale! My loaves ended up being clearly different sized.
Different sized or not, this bread is absolutely fantastic. I managed to wait until it had cooled to slice it up. I'm in love! Then I remembered that I had some brand new apple butter in the fridge - delicious! I'm about to try it as a ham sandwich for my dinner. I am definitely glad that I used the darker molasses. I don't think the bread is too sweet at all. It's got a nice, rich flavor. The cornmeal gives it an interesting texture, too. I will definitely make this one again!
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