Thursday, December 17, 2015

Anadama Bread with the BBB

I just happened to catch this post and bake it on the day that the new recipe comes out.  I don't often get to do that, it's usually a last minute thing.  But I remember this bread.  I baked it over 20 years ago in high school for a harvest party.  I think I made squaw bread and colonial bread as well.  Actually, the colonial bread might have been the same as the anadama, the ingredients are extremely similar.  I seem to recall the title saying, "also known as Anadama bread", but it didn't have the history of the name.  It was a bread machine book so maybe they didn't want to use a swear word in their publication, who knows!  But the nostalgia was there when I saw the post and it really comes together fairly quickly.  The heady smell of the molasses makes this a joy to bake as it spreads through the house.  Perfect baking smells for dark winter days.  This version has lots of seeds in it, and though I love that now, I know I would have scorned it when I was younger.  Birdseed bread is what I called that stuff that my mom loved to buy.  More traditional recipes may not include the seeds and you may certainly add more or less to your own taste.  The other fun thing about this loaf is the mystery of how it got its name.  Stories generally have a consensus of a disgruntled husband being tired of the same old mush or plain bread every day and grumbling under his breath at his wife as he tried to do his own thing to break the monotony.  "Anna, damn her," he said as he combined the cornmeal for the mush with the flour for the bread in an attempt to come up with something new.  The many stories may be apocryphal, but they are similar enough to wonder if there isn't some basis in fact to the history.

For my loaf, I used a blend of flours, all purpose, spelt, and einkorn.  Because spelt and einkorn don't absorb liquid like regular flour, I ended up having to add a lot more, between ¾ and 1 cup of regular flour (to boost the gluten).  I still left the dough on the sticky side though because too much einkorn can give you a dry or dense loaf.  I must have hit it right because I got neither of those.  The loaf was hearty, for certain, but not heavy and still nicely moist.  I only figured out today that I used double the sugar as the original post, because I looked at another babe's post first which did the same.  Maybe that was why my loaf took so long to rise, the sugar inhibits the yeast.  I might use less next time but it was really good as it turned out!  And I still got fantastic oven spring.  I was worried because you don't want to overproof spelt or einkorn or your loaf will fall flat.  Eldest daughter tried out the heel of the loaf when it had cooled, with butter, and proclaimed it wonderful.  And that was with the disclaimer that it looked unsure to her because of the color and seeds.  Glad the flavor won her over!  My mom will love this bread.  I had it for toast this morning and it was delicious!  Not too sweet, and the millet gives it a delicate crisp and popcorn-y flavor and this just deliciously perfect with the butter.  Do go check out the original post at Feeding My Enthusiasms, and scroll down to see all the other loaves that the BBB made, they are just beautiful!

Anadama Bread
makes one loaf

2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 envelope (¼ oz.) active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ tsp) I used instant
1 cup stone ground medium cornmeal I used medium ground millet for the corn allergy
¼ cup mild-flavored molasses or honey I used BOTH, oops
2 tbsp hemp seeds or white sesame seeds didn't have black, so I used 3 tbsp white
1 tbsp nigella seeds or black sesame seeds
2 tsp golden flaxseed golden flax meal
2 tsp brown flaxseed golden flax seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 ¼ tsp sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading ¾ c all purpose, ¾ c white spelt, ½ cup einkorn, + another half cup each spelt and all purpose to reach proper consistency
1 large egg, beaten to blend omitted

Salted butter, for serving

Lightly butter an 8 x 4" loaf pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang.

Place yeast in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add 1 cup warm water; stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the cornmeal, molasses, seeds, and salt. Stir to combine using a wooden spoon.  Continue stirring with a wooden spoon or the dough hook if using the stand mixer.  Add 2 cups of flour and 2 tablespoons of butter and mix until no dry spots remain.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 10-15 minutes OR mix in stand mixer on medium speed 8-10 minutes.

Lightly butter a medium bowl.  Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough to deflate.  Cover again and let rise until about doubled in size once more, about 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 375º F.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into and 8' x 4' rectangle. Starting at the short side furthest from you, roll up dough, pinching the seam as you go to create a tight roll. Pinch seam to close and tuck ends under, pinching to seal. Place seam side down in the prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic and let dough rise. Uncover before it crests the top of the pan and wait for it to spring back slightly when pressed, about 1 hour.

Brush top of dough with egg if desired.  Bake, rotating halfway through, until bread is baked through and the top is a deep golden brown, 45-50 minutes.  Let cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack before turning out.  Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing (if you can wait that long).  Serve with salted butter.