When my friend Gigi heard I was baking bread, she asked me to try a favorite of hers called Anadama Bread. An amazing soft-textured bread made with cornmeal and molasses, this bread originated in Massachusetts (where Gigi lives) and is perfect for sandwiches and toast.
I happened to come across the recipe in “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” and decided have a try. Although it takes a while to make this bread, the process is easy and you will be rewarded with an absolutely delicious, preservative free sandwich bread that freezes up perfectly (just cut into slices and freeze in a zip-lock bag) meaning you can have delicious toast whenever you want.
This recipe will make three generous one pound loaves, so if you have any leftovers, use to make croutons or french toast! Here is how you can make some:
The recipe for Anadama Bread can be found here. This bread is a two day process, but it’s not hard to make!
The day before baking make the “soaker”. The soaker is a simple combination of cornmeal and water that you let soak overnight. This is supposed to help bring out more flavor in the finished bread as well as soften the cornmeal.
The next day, lightly Pam three loaf pans and set aside. Stir together 2 cups of the flour, yeast and soaker in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let ferment for about an hour then add the remaining flour, salt, molasses (I used mild molasses) and shortening (I used butter instead) and mix with the paddle attachment until it comes together into a sticky ball.
Switch to the dough hook and mix until the dough becomes pliable and supple but no longer sticky. Transfer the dough to a large lightly oiled bowl and lightly coat the dough with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for around 90 minutes.
When finished rising, divide the dough into 3 equal balls and shape into loaves. Place each into one of the three oiled loaf pans and coat the tops with a little more oil.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again (this is called “proofing”) for around 60 to 90 minutes or until the dough rises just above the sides of the pan. During the last 30 minutes of proofing, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the dough has finished proofing, place the three loaf pans on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown with an internal temperature of 185 degrees.
When done, immediately remove the loaves from their pans and let cool on a rack for at least an hour before cutting. The bread actually continues to “cook” while it is cooling. If you cut into it too soon the texture will be soggy or gluey. When the bread has finished cooling completely, cut into slices and enjoy!