Friday, January 23, 2015

Anadama Bread

Updated January 2020

Anadama Bread ... this has very New England roots and how it got it's name is very interesting! I grew up having this bread from time to time when my dad would make it. It brings back lots of memories for me and this is exactly the story my dad told me all those years ago ...

"This is the true story of a local fisherman whose lazy wife always gave him steamed corn meal mush and molasses for dinner. One day when he came in from fishing, he found the same corn meal mush and molasses for dinner and being very tired of it, he decided to mix it with bread flour and yeast and baked it saying, "Anna Damn Her." The bread was so delicious that his neighbors baked it calling it Anadama Bread."

It is not readily agreed exactly when or where the bread originated, except it existed before 1850 in Rockport, Massachusetts. It is thought to have come from the local fishing community, but it may have come through the Finnish community of local stone cutters.

Near the turn of the 20th century, it was baked by a man named Baker Knowlton on King Street in Rockport, Massachusetts and delivered in a horse-drawn cart to households by men in blue smocks.

A short time later I was talking to my daughter on the phone and reminded her of this bread. She replied "oh yes, I remember Granddad making this bread." 

It's very much corn meal mush and molasses meets yeast and flour, which in turn makes this amazing bread.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbls. butter
1/2 cup molasses
1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt

Place 1/2 cup water and cornmeal in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until mixture thickens; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and molasses. Let cool to lukewarm.

In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit until creamy; about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled cornmeal mixture with the yeast mixture; stir until well blended. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt; mix well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, let it do most of the work).

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (this can take up to 2 hours).

*Bread rising tip - turn your oven on to 400 for one (1) minute and immediately turn off (do not preheat). Place the bowl with the dough inside the warm oven to rise.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a loaf. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack 10 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan and continue to let it cool.



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