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Anadama Bread Recipe from New England
Anadama Bread: An Unusual Bread Recipe
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Anadama Bread: Traditional New England Bread Recipe
Legend has it that a fisherman in Massachusetts came home after a long day of work, to find a poor dinner of cornmeal and molasses prepared by his wife. Angry at the paltry meal, the fisherman added flour and yeast and baked it into a more substantial dinner - all the while yelling, "Anna, damn her!"
The resulting bread was loved by the neighbors, who started calling the bread loaf "Anadama." Anadama bread has been a part of Massachusetts State history from at least the year 1850, when the loaf was baked in Rockport. This yeast bread is slightly sweet and has a nice texture - it is delicious when served with stew on a cold day.
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 (0.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water, heated to 110 degrees F.
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preparing Anadama Bread Dough: PicturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Make Anadama Bread
- Add 1/2 cup water and the cornmeal to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the mixture reaches a boil and begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
- Add the butter and molasses to the mixture and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to cool until it is tepid.
- Add the 1/2 cup of warm water (about 110 degrees F) to a small bowl. Add the yeast to the warm water.
- Pour the cornmeal/molasses mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture to the cornmeal/molasses mixture and stir.
- Add 2 cups of flour and salt to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add the remaining amount of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to combine. When the dough becomes thick, use your hands to work the remaining flour into the dough.
- Knead the dough for approximately 8 minutes. This breaks down the gluten and allows the bread to develop a soft texture.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it to cover the dough ball in the oil (I use olive oil cooking spray to grease the bowl). Cover and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour until double in size. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Punch down the dough and form into a loaf. Cook in a 9 x 5" loaf pan, or form into a mound and cook on a pizza stone for an artisan loaf look. If you are making an artisan-style loaf, cut an "X" into the top of the bread with a sharp knife to keep the bread from cracking unevenly during cooking.
- Cover the dough and allow it to rise in a warm location for about 40 minutes, or until double in size.
- Bake the bread for approximately 45 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the bread is golden brown in color and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom of the loaf.
Working with Anadama Bread DoughClick thumbnail to view full-size
Working with Yeasted Bread Dough
Kneading bread dough is time consuming, but necessary to break down the gluten in the flour. By working the dough, the resulting loaf will be lighter and spongier - bread dough that is not kneaded long enough will not rise as well and will be tough. Use bread flour rather than all-purpose flour to yield a better loaf: bread flour (such as King Arthur's) has a higher gluten content, which creates lighter, springier bread.
To knead bread, push on the dough with one hand. Fold the dough over and turn it by 90 degrees. Push the dough out again, fold, and repeat. Continue this process for the proscribed amount of time.
Bread dough rises better in a warm (but not hot) location. I usually place my covered bowl in a warm location in the kitchen and cover the bowl with a terrycloth towel. After it has risen (to approximately double its original size), it must be "punched down." Punching down dough is simple - simply punch your fist through the dough ball to decompress it. This removes any large air bubbles that have formed in the dough.
Most bread recipes require two rising times - this Anadama bread recipe must rise again after it has been punched down. This time, it will rise in the loaf pan (or on the baking stone) - simply cover it with a kitchen towel and leave it in a warm location to rise again. Once this step is done, it is ready to bake.