I promised a recipe for Anadama Bread and here it is! At the South Pole, I make all the breads. Making bread is one of my favorite activities in the world. Since it takes experience to learn how different doughs are supposed to feel, look, and smell the only way to get better at it is by hands-on practice.
Anadama is a great bread that originates from the New England area. It’s sweet from the molasses, durable from the coarse corn meal, and rich from the butter.
This bread holds up well for sandwiches or toasting for you breakfast. The molasses helps the crust become golden brown and if you’re making toast, it crisps up nicely.
Making Anadama the first few times was counter-intuitive to me since I usually work with really wet doughs such as ciabatta or sourdough. This bread is a bit more firm but knowing how firm just takes some repetition.
To me, dense breads lack the depth of flavor that many softer doughs tend to have so I tend to lean towards long-fermented doughs. This recipe takes advantage of a soaker (grains soaked in liquid the day before) and a sponge (flour, liquid, yeast, and pre-ferment mixed together and set at room temperature for a few hours).
Corn is packed full of natural sugars so any trick a baker can use to release it’s flavor, the better off the end product will be.
The soaker, made the day before, helps release the sugars connected to the complex carb. starch and the sponge helps distribute this sugar in a slower “first rise”.
This is the kind of corn meal you want to look for in this recipe, otherwise known as polenta:
The recipe I use is an adapted version from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
This book is by far the most useful, informative, and instructional bread baking book I’ve ever read.
I’ve been cooking out of Peter Reinhart’s classic bread baking book for four years now and have made every single recipe in it. Where I tend to work usually makes me alter any recipe that comes my way so most recipes that I’ve tried to master from his book have been drastically altered to suit the dry, cold, and high elevation.
Here’s a link to the Bread Baker’s Apprentice on Amazon. Just click the picture to see it.
I’ll write about my Anadama recipe I tweaked to work in the Arctic below 4,000 feet in elevation so pretty much anyone can alter it for their environment.
Just remember that anyone over 6,000 feet elevation may have to increase the salt content and very slightly increase the yeast.
Total Weight of Dough=48 oz.
Makes two 24 oz. loaves or three 16 oz. loaves
8 oz./1 1/4 Cup Coarse-Grind Cornmeal (Otherwise known as polenta, though don’t get the quick-cooking!)
10 oz./1 1/4 Cup Water, room temperature
1. Mix both the cornmeal and water in a container. Let it sit on the counter overnight, “soaking”.
2 Cups Bread Flour
2 teaspoons Instant Yeast
1 Cup Warm Water (90-100 F)
All of your Soaker
1. Stir everything together in an electric mixer bowl (or in any other bowl) and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Ferment for one hour, or until the sponge begins to bubble. Don’t start the next step unless you can tell it’s activated.
2 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
7 Tablespoons Molasses
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temperature (salted is fine, just add slightly less salt)
All of your Sponge
1. Add everything together and mix on low speed in your mixer (or blend together by hand) until it’s a soft, slightly sticky mass.
Poke your finger on the dough and if it’s unforgiving, add a little more water until the dough is easily pressed and pulls back with your finger a bit. The liquid measurements in breads vary day-to-day according to the humidity and dry air.
2. Mix for 6-8 minutes in your mixer or knead for 10 minutes.
The dough should be quite firm but supple and pliable. It shouldn’t be sticky at all. It should also pass the window-pane test.
This is where you break off a small chunk of dough and slowly work it between your fingers until it’s very thin. Put your finger behind it. If you can see it, it’s done. If it breaks before you get to this point, it’s not done. Mix for a minute or two longer and try the window-pane test again.
3. Spray a bowl with some pan spray and put your dough in it. Make sure the bowl is big enough for the dough to double in size.
Let it ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes or until it’s double in size. Divide the dough into 24 oz.
Spray 9X5’’ bread pans (if you’re doing 16 oz. dough, find a slightly smaller bread pan) with pan spray. (Note: In my picture, my bread pans are way too big.)
Here’s the kind of pan you’re looking for with the 24 oz. dough:
Shape the dough into loaves by flattening each one to 9’’ long. Roll each loaf into a torpedo/loaf shape (bread pan length size) and place in the sprayed pans.
4. Mist the top of the loaves with spray oil and lightly cover with plastic wrap.
There are two ways you can proof the bread at this point.
-My favorite way to proof the anadama bread dough is an overnight retardation (relaxation). This develops the flavor quite a bit more and helps the bread retain it’s shape. When you do it this way, securely wrap the bread pans in plastic or place them in a large zip-lock bag.
Let the anadama bread dough sit in your fridge overnight. They can be proofed up to 2 days. The day you’re baking them, pull them out 4 hours before baking them to proof (still covered).
-The faster way is to let the bread sit at room temperature for 60-90 minutes directly after covering them with plastic wrap. You want the dough to almost overflow the top of the pans.
5. Preheat your oven to 350 and if you have a home oven, place a rack in the center of the oven.
Now, spray the loaves with some water and sprinkle a little more cornmeal on top of the bread.
Bake for 20 minutes in the center of the oven. Rotate the sheet pan and bake for 20-30 minutes more. If you have a thermometer handy, the center of the loaf should record 190 F. If not, the bread should be golden brown, including the sides and bottom. Using a towel, pop one out of the pan to check this.
6. When they’re done, pop them out of the pan onto a cooling rack or your counter. Let them sit for 2 hours before slicing and serving.
In high altitude, you need to make sure Anadama bread has proofed all the way. You won’t get the desired outcome otherwise. Also, as a reminder, you need to increase the salt content in the bread when you live above 6,000 feet. If you live above 10,000 feet, you need to almost double the salt.
If you try this recipe and you think it’s too sweet, you can decrease the molasses. I add a little extra for the better toast factor.
I’ve also used Anadama as a hearty dinner roll, too.
Just roll the anadama bread dough out to 2.5-3 oz. after proofing in the bowl. As they come out of the oven, brush with a little butter and sprinkle some coarse salt over them. They’re really good!
If you’re having trouble with the dough consistency, feel free to message me. I would love to trouble-shoot with you.
Also, if you’re feeling a lighter white bread or rolls, my kaiser roll recipe is a great substitute:
If you want me to cover a certain type of bread, I’d be happy to. I’ll use the South Pole community as guinea pigs 🙂
Just comment below what you’d like to see.
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