Monday, July 27, 2009

Anadama Bread

There is another baking group out there following the Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart and the recipes looked really interesting, so I decided to buy the book last week. I'm really quite behind where everyone else is, but I would still like to make my way through the book. And let me tell you, if you are interested in baking breads, this book is way more than just a cookbook. There are so many interesting things in it about the science of baking bread- it was definitely worth the money.

The first receipe in the book is for Anadama bread. Evidently, this is a classic New England bread that came to fruition after a man's wife walked out on him and left him with nothing to eat. He threw the cornmeal mush that was left together with some molasses and flour and said "Anna damn her", hense the name. When I read about the bread on Tracey's Culinary Adventures, she mentioned she had lived in New England her entire life and had never heard of this bread. So I called my friend who has lived in Boston her whole life and she said the same thing. Interesting...

The bread starts with a cornmeal soaker. I had never made a bread that involved a soaker so this step was entirely new to me. The rest of the recipe comes together fairly simply. It suggested using golden molasses for a milder flavor, but all I had was blackstrap molasses- the complete opposite of what I was supposed to use! I had picked it up last weekend because its very hard to find around here and the recipe we use at Christmas to make molasses cookies calls for it. Oh well...

The dough rose beautifully and baked to a nice brown color unlike the golden loaf in the picture- probably because of the darker molasses. It smelled wonderful when it was in the oven. There is nothing like the smell of yeast bread baking! And I loved the texture of this bread. There was a nice crust on the outside and it was soft but kind of dense on the inside. I NEVER had white bread when I was growing up (I kid you not- I don't think I had white bread until I was in college) so I like a denser bread. It was very tasty and I think it will make a wonderful sandwich, but you could definitely taste the molasses. Next time I make it, I am going to try to find the golden molasses so there is a more subtle molasses flavor.

Even though the recipe is a little time intensive, it is definitely worth the effort! Per the request of the group, the recipes for the breads in the BBA book won't be posted on my blog, but you can check out the book on Amazon. Like I said, it is well worth the money and there are some really interesting recipes!

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