Sunday, May 17, 2009

BBA Challenge: Anadama Bread

What is one culinary fear that you have? Whatever it is... overcome it. I know, maybe it's easier said than done, but I overcame mine and I know you can too. My culinary fear? Yeast. It wasn't so much a fear per se, but it was one ingredient that I was hesitant to work with. After some great encouragement and some solid recipes using yeast that had successful results, here I am dedicating myself to making bread every week until March of next year. That's right... I'm making weekly bread, thanks to Pinch My Salt and her Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge.

Bread Baker's Apprentice

You can read how it all started here, in Pinch My Salt's blog. Every week going forward, a group of 200 bread loving folks will be baking their way through each recipe in order as it appears in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice cookbook. I'm one of these 200 bread loving folks who are taking on this challenge, however you're more than welcome to join in!

Our first recipe is Anadama bread on page 108. The story behind this bread is that...
"A fisherman, angry with his wife, Anna, for serving him nothing but cornmeal and molasses, one day adds flour and yeast to his porridge and eats the resultant bread, while cursing, 'Anna, damn her.'" - Wikipedia

When I first read through the recipe, I never considered using molasses and cornmreal in bread. This is a 2 day bread recipe that took quite a bit of time, starting with creating a "sponge" of cornmeal and water which was done overnight. The sponge is then combined with flour, yeast, and water and left to ferment for about 1 hour.

More flour, salt, molasses and butter is added to the fermented sponge until it forms a ball and then it's kneaded.

The kneaded dough is placed in an oiled bowl and left to ferment for another hour and a half.

An hour and a half later, the dough has doubled in size and is ready to set into pans.

With only one loaf pan, I divided the dough in half and placed one half in my loaf pan and made small Anadama rolls with the remaining half. These needed to proof before baking, so they sat for another hour and a half...

Once the dough has crested above the top of my loaf pan and my rolls have expanded a bit, they were ready for the oven! These baked for 40-45 minutes...

After sleeping through the night and an additional 4+ hours since I started preparing and making this bread, I'm ready to dig in! It was definitely worth the wait because the flavor is sweet, nutty and a delicious combination of molasses and cornmeal. I can't wait to make some sandwiches with my loaf and some toasted croutons with the rolls, so stay tuned for those recipes using Anadama bread!