Whole grain anadama bread is my first choice when I have a need for hearty sandwich loaves. It has an interesting combination of dense chewiness and texture from the addition of cornmeal. The aroma and richness that it gets from molasses keeps it from taking a backseat even with the richest of sandwich fillings. The use of 100% whole grains also makes it very satisfying and keeps hunger pangs at bay.
I surprisingly haven’t pulled a single tooth-shattering loaf of brick from the oven since trying Peter Reinhart’s methods for making 100% whole grain breads. His formulas often call for a biga and soaker prepared a day ahead and combined in a process he calls the epoxy method.
makes 1 loaf
recipe adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads
Whole Grain Anadama Bread
For the soaker:
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) cornmeal
7 tablespoons (2 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) water
Mix the soaker ingredients until evenly hydrated. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
For the biga:
1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup (6 ounces) water, at room temperature
Mix the biga ingredients until a rough ball of dough is formed. Knead the dough for about 2 to 3 minutes to ensure that the dough is evenly hydrated throughout. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
anadama soaker and biga
For the final dough:
all of the soaker
all of the biga
1 cup (4.5 ounces) whole wheat flour
5/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- You can also use 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to replace the butter.
Remove the biga from the refrigerator about 2 hours before making the final dough. Cut up the soaker and biga into small pieces and combine with all of the final dough ingredients. Mixing the soaker and biga in this manner is the main idea behind Reinhart’s epoxy method.
Mix until a rough ball is formed.
Knead for about 5 minutes, making sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes then knead again briefly for about 1 minute. Notice how differently the dough feels after the 5 minute rest. This step helps strengthen the gluten.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let rise at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes or until 1 1/2 times its size.
Transfer the dough gently to a lightly floured counter and shape the loaf:
anadama loaf before final shaping
Place the shaped dough in a greased 4 by 8 1/2 inch loaf pan. My sandwich loaf pan is slightly larger but it will do just fine. Cover the loaf pan loosely and let rise at room temperature for another 45 to 60 minutes or until 1 1/2 times its size.
shaped anadama loaf proofing in the bread pan
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the pan in the middle of the oven and lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the pan, then bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the loaf is browned well on all sides and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom.
Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 1 hour.