Throwback Thursday Anadama Bread

AnadamaBread1-impMy Aunt Tootsie showed me how to make Anadama Bread back in the 60s or 70s. I hadn’t made this bread for at least 20 years. Since I’m on a low-grains (only whole grains) kick, I haven’t eaten much bread, but lately I’ve been craving the chewy mouth feel of Anadama. I broke down and baked some this week. Sigh. It’s so good. Tim loves it too. When he tasted the first warm slice his comment was, “To hell with Dave’s bread. This is better!” That’s saying alot around here. Dave’s bread is Tim’s bread. (that’s Tim holding the hot-out-of-the-oven loaf in the photo above)

Anyhoo. Anadama. I love saying that word. Ana Damn Uh. tee. hee.

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These are my round loaves before they rose the second time.

I made a slightly healthier version than the one I learned as a college student. I substituted whole wheat flour for half of the white flour, added flax meal, used less salt and a teensy bit less butter.  Here’s how I made this incredibly delicious bread:

Maureen’s Version of Tootsie’s Anadama Bread

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup coarse ground corn meal
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or, okay — salted butter if you insist)
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pkgs (or one very heaping tablespoon) yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 to 6 cups flour (I used half whole wheat and half unbleached white)
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal

PREPARATION:

  1. Bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. As the water is boiling, stir in the cornmeal. Cook on medium heat until thickened about the consistency of porridge (cream of wheat… whatev) This takes maybe about 5 minutes. Add salt, butter, molasses. Stir til butter melts. Set aside to cool.
  2. As soon as you put the water on to boil, make your yeast “sponge” by sprinkling the dry yeast over 1/2 cup warm water in a bowl, and stirring in the sugar. Stir til the yeast is dissolved and place this bowl in a warm spot to let the yeast do it’s thing.
  3. When the cornmeal mixture is cooled to lukewarm, pour it in a large bread bowl and stir in the yeast mixture.
  4. Mix 5 cups of flour with the flax meal (now is the time to add your variations like seeds, herbs, etc). Mix the flour into the liquid, adding gradually and incorporating it completely. Your dough will be very sticky at this point. Dump it onto a floured surface (I use our large wood bread board) to knead the dough.
  5. Knead your dough, adding more flour as necessary to get a smooth unsticky dough that feels like it’s alive and has “bounce.” Form it into a round.
  6. Place back in the bread bowl (I always butter my bowl after I dump the dough out.) Cover with a cloth (kitchen towel,) place in a warm spot and let the dough rise til doubled in size.
  7. Preheat your oven to 375F
  8. Cut dough in half. Form each half into a loaf or a round. If you are making rectangular loaves, put them into greased loaf pans. If you are making rounds, place them on baking sheets, or in round cake pans.
  9. Again, cover the loaves with a cloth and let them rise til doubled, in a warm spot.
  10. Bake at 375F for 30 to 45 minutes until golden brown on top.
  11. Remove from pans and place on cooling rack. You can brush the tops of the loaves with butter while they are still hot, if you want.

Additions and Variations: 

  • Cheese Anadama: add chunks of your favorite cheese to the dough when you are kneading it.
  • Seed-Nut Anadama: add sunflower seeds or finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Cinnamon Swirl Anadama: flatten the rounds after they rise and spread a mixture of cinnamon, softened butter and a little brown sugar on one surface. Roll it up and place in loaf pan.
  • Savory Herb Anadama: add crushed herbs to the flour before incorporating it into the dough. Combinations that sound yummy to me: rosemary/thyme/savory …. oregano/basil …. caraway/fresh ground black pepper.
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Your yeast sponge should look foamy and alive when it’s ready (lower left) and the cornmeal mixture should be about this thick when it’s completely cooled (right)

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I like to cut an “x” in the dough when I make round loaves… just makes ’em prettier.

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