January 27, 2008

Anadama Bread

The story behind this bread is that a Southern man was fed up with the cornmeal mush his wife Anna served him every single night. (Imagine that, complaining about being fed a warm nutritious meal each night by a devoted wife.) Finally, he lost his temper and yelled, "Anna, dammit, I'm sick of this cornmeal mush." He added yeast and flour and baked his mush into bread.

That's the story behind this cornmeal molasses bread. It's a slightly sweet bread that goes well with soups, particularly Southwestern-flavored ones.

Anadama Bread
1 1/3 cup boiling water
½ cup yellow cornmeal

¼ cup dark molasses

3 Tbsp. soft butter

2 tsp. salt

3 ½ cups bread flour

2 tsp. rapid-rising or active dry yeast

Pour the boiling water into a mixing bowl, add the cornmeal and stir. Let stand until the mixture cools to warm, between 105°F and 115°F. Add the molasses and yeast. Let stand 5 minutes. Add butter, salt and half the bread flour. Beat until smooth. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour, and beat until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough on medium to high, adding flour as necessary, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and is smooth and springy but still soft to the touch. Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl and let dough rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a round cake pan. Turn the dough onto lightly floured or oiled surface. Punch the dough down, and shape into a round loaf. Place the loaf, with the smooth side up, into the pan. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until loaf is golden and a wooden skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean and dry. Remove from pan, and cool on wire rack. (This recipe can make two smaller loaves or one large one.)

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