Sunday, October 25, 2009

BBA #1: Anadama Bread

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!

The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread


  1. Your sponge looked bubblier than mine, but then again, you let it go for 20 minutes more than mine. Did it visibly sigh and deflate when you added the next ingredients? I'm not sure if the super-fast fermentation and proof were caused by an over-ripe sponge or what, or if sponges are supposed to be like that.

  2. I didn't notice a big deflation. Thinking back, I'm pretty sure it didn't. I also added some of the molasses first, before the flour. How warm is your house? I cranked the heat up today for the bread, maybe that had something to do with it, too.

  3. My house is about 75, but could be a little warmer in mid-day since the sun is beating down on the kitchen. Maybe I should try cranking the A/C more when I'm baking. You have NO IDEA how much I miss Alaska right now - my house was always so cool that enlongating bread times was no problemo.

  4. Add me to the club of New Englanders who have never heard of that bread! Maybe in my neck of the woods in MA they didnt make it? LOL Looks good though!