Anadama Bread

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There are several bread-centric blog events and groups that I try to keep up with:

  • Bread Baking Day (monthly), which I even hosted once
  • Bread Baking Babes (monthly)
  • Bake Your Own Bread (biweekly)
  • Yeastspotting (weekly)

The newest addition to my list is the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge (weekly), where participants bake through Peter Reinhart’s unofficial bible for the beginning bread nerd.

Yep, I’m officially in over my head. I do have a bit of a headstart, though.

Since we’ll bake from front to back and the recipes are alphabetical, we begin with A. A is for Anadama Bread, a New England specialty baked with cornmeal and molasses.

I used dark molasses so the crumb turned out almost as deeply browned as this 100% whole grain anadama bread I posted ages ago. Notice how much more trigger happy with the camera I was back then. There’s even an embedded YouTube video about how to shape a sandwich loaf.

recipe adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge
Bake Your Own Bread

Anadama Bread Recipe

makes 2 pan loaves (8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch )

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For the Cornmeal Soaker:

Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams
cornmeal, preferably coarse grind 1 cup 6 170
water, at room temperature 1 cup 8 227

Cornmeal Soaker Directions:

  1. Mix together the cornmeal and water. Cover and let stand at room temperature for about 8 hours.

For the Sponge:

Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams
all of the cornmeal soaker
water, lukewarm (90ºF to 100ºF) 1 cup 8 227
unbleached bread flour 2 cups 9 255
instant yeast 2 teaspoons 0.22 6

Sponge Directions:

  1. Mix together the cornmeal soaker, water, bread flour, and yeast until the dough is thoroughly hydrated.
  2. Cover and let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour. The sponge should rise considerably and be slightly jiggly.

For the Final Anadama Bread Dough:

Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams
all of the sponge
unbleached bread flour 2 1/2 cups 11.25 319
salt 2 teaspoons 0.38 11
molasses 6 tablespoons 4 113
unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 tablespoons 1 28
cornmeal for dusting (optional)

Anadama Bread Directions:

Mix. In a large bowl, mix together the soaker, bread flour, salt, molasses, and butter until a shaggy ball of dough is formed.

Knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.

Bulk Ferment #1. 45 minutes at room temperature

Stretch and Fold.

Bulk Ferment #2. 45 minutes at room temperature

Prepare 2 lightly greased 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans.

Divide. 2 pieces

Shape. tight sandwich loaves

Final Proof. 60 to 90 minutes at room temperature, or until almost double its original size.

Preheat Oven. 350ºF / 175ºC

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How to cut down on plastic wrap usage: use a bus tub with a tight lid for proofing.

Dust the tops with additional cornmeal right before baking if you feel like it.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350ºF / 175ºC. Rotate the pans and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown on all sides. The loaves will register 185ºF to 190ºF in the center when done.

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Cooling on a rack.

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Anadama bread crumb.