Anadama bread is something of a old-timey New England classic. This tasty cornmeal/molasses bread is a little bit sweet, and has just a little bit of a cornmeal crunch…just enough to make you want to keep coming back for more. (We dare you to eat only one slice of warm, fresh anadama bread.)
Why “anadama”? There are all sorts of stories about why it has this unusual name. Almost all of them have to do with a baker named Anna and someone cursing her (“Anna, damn her!”) and cornmeal and/or molasses being thrown into or spilled into the dough.
Whether it was an accident or intentional, this bread is just about the most swoon-worthy aromatic bread you can bake at home. As homemade breads go, it’s pretty easy as well (no braiding or significant shaping involved). If you’ve baked bread or worked with yeast dough before, you should be good to go.
A classic cornmeal/molasses bread, adapted for modern cooking from a 1980s-era Fleischmann's yeast cookbook.
- 7 to 8 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (equivalent to two packets)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 1/4 cups very warm tap water 120-130 degrees F
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 1 tbsp butter, plus additional butter for greasing bowl and pans
In a large bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the cornmeal, salt, and yeast. Add the butter and use a mixer to blend in the butter. Slowly add in the warm water and the molasses, stirring carefully. Add 1/2 cup additional flour, and then, using a mixer, beat at medium speed for two minutes. Stir in approximately four more cups of flour (you will need to work it in with your hands at this point) to make a stiff dough.
Turn out the dough onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic for approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Grease a large bowl with butter and place the dough in the bowl. Turn the dough so that all sides are coated. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for one hour, until doubled in bulk.
Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Roll each half out on a floured board into an approximately 14x9" rectangle. Roll up the rectangle and place it in a greased 9x5x3" loaf pan. Repeat with the other half of dough. Cover with a towel and let rise again, until doubled in bulk, approximately 45 minutes. Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter and brush it over the top of the loaves.
Bake the loaves at 375 for approximately 45 minutes. The bread should be medium brown and crispy on top, and should make a hollow sound when tapped. Cool on wire racks. Serve warm with butter. Makes two loaves
This bread is going to smell *so* good coming out of your oven, you’re going to want to eat it right away. And we’re all for that. Also, we suggest serving it with butter and jam or honey to help bring out the sweetness.
Given how fast anadama bread gets eaten, this is probably information that you don’t need… *but* just sayin’… anadama bread freezes pretty well. Additionally, if you keep it covered/sealed, it should stay fresh for several days on your counter. This recipe makes two healthy-sized loaves.
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