“Anna, damn her” bread

anadama bread 028

I will be able to go back to work soon. So now I feel all this pressure to get everything done that I can’t get done when I spend my days at work! This pressure comes from myself, I know this! So I have a list of sewing projects that need starting and finishing; I have a bunch of recipes I still want to try; there are books still to be read, solitaire games to play (oops!), and I have enjoyed the luxury of having mornings at my kitchen table writing and planning my days. But I am very much looking forward to going back to work, having a schedule, a broader purpose to the day, and seeing all my co-workers.anadama bread 018

This was my lunch. I saved this three ingredient pancake recipe on one of the many Facebook feeds I get from food and cooking sites. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/3-ingredient-gluten-free-banana-pancakes.html They are more like crepes and very light and tasty with a light banana flavor. Eggs and banana: protein and fruit!

That said, I was looking for an easy bread recipe and have always wanted to make Anadama bread. Basically this is a yeasted cornbread. The recipes in my many cookbooks vary using molasses or honey, using cornmeal or creamed corn, sometimes eggs sometimes none. The origin of the bread is in New England so I thought it appropriate to get out my cookbook The New England Table by Lora Brody and see if I could make that version. This recipe is  a “throw everything together in a bowl, mix, and knead”. What could be simpler?

The story, true or not, behind the bread is that a man was sent to work with cornmeal mush in his lunch box and kept asking his wife to put in bread instead. So he cursed her and added yeast, molasses, and flour himself to make the bread. I found this link to a food historian while googling the name of the bread: http://atasteofhistorywithjoycewhite.blogspot.com/2015/02/anadama-bread-new-england-tradition.html

  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 scant teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons regular molasses

Handy hint: it does really work when you use oil in the measuring spoon before measuring the molasses. Slides right out!

I placed all the ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer with the bread hook attached. I mixed it up and then set it on knead (speed 2) for 8 minutes. Sticky dough! To place in a greased bowl I pushed the batter to one side of the bowl, sprayed with cooking spray, pushed it back to the other side of the bowl, sprayed that side and made sure the batter was covered with the “oil”. Covered this with plastic wrap. This was to rise one-third. So I waited an hour and it looked nicely risen to me. The instructions are to gently deflate the dough and knead in some toasted sunflower seeds but I didn’t plan to add seeds so I left this step out. I then placed the dough in the prepared pan (9 x 5 loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray). Cover this with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled. Spray the plastic wrap so that the dough does not stick when you uncover it.

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The loaf looks good at this point. Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake for 35-40 minutes. I checked it at 35 and it looked done to me although a bit flat. When I was much younger and baking bread the loaves would rise up out of the loaf pan. What is different now? Looking up on the internet it may be that I needed to bake it for the additional 5 minutes.

Dinner that night included this fresh baked bread. It was pre-breaded fish from frozen, leftover mashed potatoes, small spinach salad with olives and feta, and a citrus salsa. The salsa recipe is from http://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/03/02/when-you-are-in-the-mood-for-seafood/. She has some nice recipes.

(If you look closely you can see the white paws of Felix the Cat in the background. He’s eating his dinner too.)

 

 

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