Have you ever had Anadama bread? It's a traditional dark yeast bread from New England. Please welcome Hank Shaw as he shares the recipe for this delicious loaf he made for us the other day. ~Elise
My mum was never much of a baker, but she used to tell us about a bread she loved back at home on the North Shore of Massachusetts called, oddly, anadama bread.
How Anadama Bread Got Its Name
Apparently the old tale is that Anna was a fisherman’s wife who fed her beau little more than cornmeal porridge sweetened with molasses. One day, so the story goes, the fisherman came home, added some flour and yeast to the mush and tossed it in the oven to make bread—all the while muttering, “Anna, damn her!”
Obviously this is an apocryphal story, but the bread—based on cornmeal and molasses—dates back to Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in the early part of the 20th century.
It is a dense, dark bread, a little sweet from the molasses, and it is very, very good with butter and cinnamon. Serve it hot, and then later as toast.
Anadama bread also freezes well, which is why this recipe makes two loaves. We’ve read dozens of recipes for anadama bread and decided to base ours off the venerable one in the Fanny Farmer cookbook, which is more than a century old.
More Classic Bread Recipes
The dough is very sticky and is not kneadable; just spoon it into the loaf pans. It will also take some time to rise properly – sometimes 3 to 4 hours. Just give it time, it’ll rise.
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 cups water
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 (7g) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
4 1/2 cups bread flour
Add the cornmeal and boiling water to a bowl:
Place the cornmeal in a large bowl. Boil the two cups of water and pour the hot water into the cornmeal, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Add the molasses, salt and butter to cornmeal mixture:
Add the molasses, salt and butter and stir to combine. The cornmeal water should still be warm enough to melt the room temperature butter.
Activate the yeast:
Put 1/2 cup of warm water (slightly warmer than body temperature) into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let sit for a few minutes. Then stir it to gently combine. Let sit for another 5 minutes.
Combine the yeast and cornmeal mixtures, then add the flour:
Add the yeast and the water to the bowl with the cornmeal and everything else, and mix to combine. Add the bread flour, a cup at a time, stirring after each addition. You will end up with something of a gloopy mess.
Pour the dough into loaf pans and let rise:
Butter a couple of 5- x 9-inch loaf pans. Spoon the dough mixture into the pans as best you can; it’ll be sticky. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for several hours, until it doubles in size.
Preheat the oven:
Preheat the oven to 350°F .
Bake the breads for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer or knife blade comes out clean. Let the loaves cool for a few minutes, then turn them out onto racks to continue cooling.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 16 to 20|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 2g||3%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||6%|
|Total Carbohydrate 31g||11%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|