Friday, May 15, 2009

Anadama Bread - by the seat of my pants (aka: without a book)

BBA #1 Anadama bread.

My Bread Baker's Apprentice book is late. :-(
However, the recipe is posted here. :-)

Have you ever heard someone take a bite of an apple and it sounded so crisp that it grabbed your attention? Did you look in the direction the sound came from in time to catch the juice from the apple running down their chin? Did it make you crave an apple? When Anadama is toasted, it appeals to the auditory senses in the same way. It sounds crisp, light and yummy. (and yes, butter was running down my chin)

There are several popular myths about the origin of the name of this bread, which mostly take this form:

A fisherman from the New England area was abandoned by his wife. She took everything except cornmeal mush and some molasses. In his anger, he combined them with flour, water and yeast to make bread, all the while muttering, "Anna, damn 'er!". (close your eyes and picture a Bostonian pronouncing this... the R's are silent) Touching, eh?

This is a simple recipe of flour, yeast, polenta, golden molasses, and water. I couldn't find the golden molasses so I used Lyle's Golden syrup which I brought back from my trip to Ireland. This recipe is so simple that, for an old pro like myself (ha!), I decided to complicate things. I added 75 grams of old sour dough starter to enhance the flavor, an autolyse stage to cut down on the kneading and I baked the bread on a I had one.

The dough was pretty wet and I had to add extra flour to get the texture required.

I would love to take a bread baking class so that I can learn how to knead the dough, do a window pane test and shape loaves correctly. I'm just not one of those people who can pick up a book, read about it, then execute it like I've been doing it all my life. (and people who are like that really get on my nerves...opps, sorry Rick..I really do love you... here, have a piece of bread) To learn, I need someone in my face, showing me step by step ...and I need hands on. So if you're in the Memphis area and want to give a free class... let me know. I'll take you to a great BBQ joint for payment. :-)

Because the loaves would have been branded by the heating elements if I used the middle shelf, I baked my bread on a lower shelf then suggested. I know Peter said not to use ice but I ignored him (shocking, I know) and I tossed 6 pieces of ice into the hot iron skillet located at the bottom of my oven (a trick I learned from Rose Levy Beranbaum) It wasn't my fault I didn't use simmering water...I didn't have my book yet...I didn't know...don't kick me out of the group. Perhaps I'll follow directions to a tee next time. (um...probably not)

The first loaf baked in 32 minutes! When I checked the internal temp, it was 200 degrees! It exceeded the required temperature by 10 degrees! I know, I know... I need an oven thermometer. But I can't find one I can read. (yes, I'm almost 50 and I didn't eat my carrots while growing up) If you know of a good thermometer, that is super sized ...please let me know. Why isn't this a feature on ovens? A nice LCD reading of the actual temperature in the oven with a toggle button so you can read the exact temperature at each rack level. I think I'm on to something here...but I digress.

To bring the oven temperature back up to bake the second loaf, I turned the oven up to 400 degrees. Yes, you are correct.... I forgot to turn it back down to 350 when I popped the pan in the oven. I discovered the error of my ways when I rotated the pan 180 degrees after 20 minutes of baking and it looked done. I checked the internal temperature (157) and with my vast bread baking experience, (notice this is my first and only post on bread) I decided it needed to bake for 7 minutes more. Why 7? I have no idea... but 7 minutes later, the internal temperature was 200! Obviously, that's my lucky number today.

What amazes me is that no matter what I did to this recipe, the taste and texture didn't suffer. The bread was soft, moist and delicious. I'm going to call this a no-fail bread recipe. If it survived all the antics I put it through, it'll survive anything!

Click here if you want to see a world map where the Bakers live. (it takes a minute or two to load. Go get some coffee, take the dog for a walk, then come back to view it) Sorry... I tried to embed the map but it kept messing up. (yes, I have no idea what I'm doing)

Baker's from all over the world uniting to bake together. Brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it? Can you picture us all stretched across the world, holding hands and singing... (to the tune of "I'd like to buy the world a coke")

"I'd like to buy the world some flour and leaven it with love,
Bake buns and rolls and marbled rye and Anadama loaves.
I'd like to teach the world to knead in perfect harmony,
I'd like to buy the world a couche and keep it company.
That's the real thing.
Anadama bread
What the world wants today.
Bread Is the real thing"
(If you're under 30, you may not know that song)

If I haven't scared you off, I'd love for you to join us. (no, you don't have to shave your head or drink the kool-aid) Just get your hands on Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice", post pictures of your bread on Flickr and put a link to your pictures in the comment section below.

Next week: Artos-Greek Celebration Bread


  1. Tammy, you're so funny. This was a great read! Your bread looks so yummy.

    Oh, and I feel your pain... just got my first pair of reading glasses... ugh!

  2. Thanks ButterYum! I can't wait to make your strawberry muffins this weekend. I know they're going to awesome!

  3. Awesome write up. Loved reading it. Great job on the bread. I'm still waiting for my book too. I didn't even know you were suppose to steam anything. I'm getting ready to do the 3rd recipe next week. :)
    Fun baking along with you,
    Susie in northern NY

  4. Thanks Susies1955. I love reading your write ups also. I can't believe you're on the 3rd bread already! You're amazing! I may be a little late with #2 and 3 but I'm going to try and keep up. It's fun baking along with you too.

  5. Despite the fact you had no book, your bread looks great! Good job!


  6. Bread looks perfect! Love reading your post! Happy baking!
    Jenn @ pete eatemall

  7. Thanks Deborah and peteeatemall. I'm enjoying baking with you all.

  8. Your bread looks great! I hope your book arrives soon.

  9. Thanks Jill. It's here, it's here! I finally have my book! Yipee! Now I have a lot of reading to do.... :-)

  10. Tammy, you follow recipes about as well as I do!
    As to thermometers, I use one like this (man, I hope that works!)
    Your loaf looks great and I love your initial description. Oh and I remember that song ... hehe.

  11. Love the updated song lyrics. I will probably be humming that all day now.

  12. Wow, good writer good baker. Amazing what the difference in molasses makes. I could only find dark molasses and mine came out real dark. You are right about the toast with Anadama, it is delicious.

  13. What a great idea Saara...I have a similar thermometer that I use when roasting chicken. I didn't think about using it to monitor the oven. D0h! Thanks!!!!

    Thanks Victoria...I'll be humming along with you. :-)

    Thanks Sean! I tried to leave a comment on your bread but I don't have a WordPress userid or password. Your bread looks wonderful!

  14. I enjoyed reading your post a lot.:D And the bread too.

  15. Thanks Oggi! And thanks for the tip on using parchment paper in the bread pan. Excellent idea.

  16. Tammy,
    I started my bagels today and just as I was getting ready to form them my book showed up in the mail. :) YEHA.
    I know it will help me. The recipes I had for the first two didn't have details so I didn't know I was suppose to steam the first loaf and I'm sure tons more details.
    I won't be able to do any breads the whole month of August so I'm trying to get a few ahead and will catch totally up in Sept.
    We are traveling here in northern NY to CA and back on our Harley. :o)
    Enjoy your baking time when you find it,

  17. Just found you through the BBA FB. Great post and bread! I jumped in the middle with ciabatta and haven't made this one far, I haven't been kicked out of the group~

  18. Your loaves look exquisite. Glad to see I wasn't the only one to try Lyle's. I couldn't find anything resembling "golden molasses." Found LGS, but it is quite expensive (wonderful stuff though... ate a couple spoonfuls right out of the jar!). I've tried Lyle's and sorghum syrup, both with equivalently good results. I haven't tried the anadama I made today with blackstrap, but it looks more like rye bread than corn bread.