Thursday, 21 May 2009

Anadama Bread: BBA Challenge

The Bread Baker's Challenge has begun!  The first bread we made in the challenge is Anadama Bread.

Anadama bread is a yeast bread composed of wheat flour, cornmeal, and molasses. It originated in Boston.  --- Source:
    "Anadama bread. A bread made from cornmeal and molasses. The term dates in print to 1915, but is probably somewhat older. If it were not for the frequency of their citation, it would be difficult to believe the story most often cited is of a Gloucester, Massachusetts, fisherman's wife named Anna, who gave her husband nothing but cornmeal and molasses to eat every day. One night the fisherman got so angry, he tossed the ingredients in with some yeast and flour and made a bread in the oven while muttering to himself, "Anna, damn her!" A more affectionate story has a New England sea captain referring to his wife with the same name expletive as a phrase of endearment. This Anna was apparently adept at bread-baking, and she became well known for her cornmeal-and-molasses loaf among the fishing crews who appreciated this long-lasting, hearty bread. There was, supposedly, a gravestone to this legendary woman that read, Anna was a lovely bride, but Anna, Damn'er, up and died. One source contends that a commercial bakery called its product Annadammer or Annadama bread." ---Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 6)

This version of Anadama bread takes 2 days to make from start to finish. However, don't let that intimidate you. The process is really rather simple. The only thing you do on day one is prepare the soaker. It takes about 5 minutes to mix the ingredients together and then you're done. How easy is that!
    "A soaker, is a type of pre-ferment that does not include yeast. It is usually a coarsely milled whole grain such as cornmeal, rye meal, or cracked wheat, that has been soaked overnight in water or milk. It's purpose is to activate the enzymes in the grains in order to break out some of the trapped sugars from the starches. It also softens the coarse grains. " ---Source: The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.

 The Soaker

 The sponge

Oven spring while the loaves are baking.

Oh boy! This is good. You've got to try it.  I took a loaf of this bread on a camping trip.  It made a fabulous PB&J sandwich!

Thanks for joining us this week in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge.

Stay tuned for Week 2 of the Bread Baking Challenge:

Next week, we'll be making a Greek Celebration Bread. You have your choice as to which bread you want to make. Keep in mind that this bread uses a barm or poolish so you'll need to allow enough time for the process. If you don't already have a sourdough starter, you can make the barm (on page 230) or the poolish (on page 106). I have some sourdough starters, but I might just try the poolish method since the barm method takes a little while to start.

Happy baking!

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