Thursday, November 15, 2012

Anadama Bread


Last weekend I opened up one of the cupboard doors in the kitchen to have a whole pile of things come tumbling out onto the floor. It was one of those drop everything (literally) moments where I decided that it needed to be cleaned out right then and there. It didn't take long for me to discover I had three containers of dry mustard buried in there. If I can't see that they are in there, I just go out and buy another one. Then there were three bags of heirloom beans and it didn't take long to figure out that there were baked beans on the horizon. A simple pot of beans to use up some pantry staples sounded like a good plan. Something easy for dinner. Soon, those hopes of a simple meal disappeared. You see, David grew up in Maine where baked beans are not taken lightly. Apparently I was treading on hundreds of years of tradition with a simple batch of baked beans. Names of foods I had never heard of were flying across our kitchen, something about red hot dogs and what I thought was Damn Banana Bread. "Damn what", I asked?  Now I am going to have to spend the day kneading and baking bread? Turns out that Anadama Bread is probably the original no knead bread. You mix it all together, put it in the bread pans and let it rise for 3-4 hours. It takes a long time, but all it does is sit there. The active time is probably 10 minutes or less. So, I breathed a sigh of relief. Turns out it is possible to have a simple pot of beans and some homemade bread without a whole lot of work.

Anadama Bread
adapted from Simply Recipes

1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup molasses
3 tbsp butter (softened)
1 tbsp salt
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
4 1/2 cups bread flour

Grease or butter two 5x9 loaf pans. Slowly pour two cups of boiling hot water over the cornmeal, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Set in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Add molasses, butter, and salt to the cornmeal. Stir to combine. Mix yeast with  1/2 cup of warm water (should feel slightly warmer than body temperature). Let sit for 5 minutes, until it turns foamy. Stir the yeast into the cornmeal mixture. Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time until it is all incorporated and no dry flour is visible. Use a spoon to divide the very wet dough mixture between the two loaf pans. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise 3-4 hours, until doubled in volume. 
Heat the oven to 350°F and bake the bread for 45-50 minutes, until bread is brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto racks to cool completely. Serve slathered in butter with baked beans.

15 comments:

  1. These look so good and so easy! Nothing better than fresh baked bread! I love your butter knife, too! :)

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    1. Thanks Jennifer. They really are super easy. I bet I have had that butter knife for over 10 years. I remember because I went through a phase of buying everything I found with oak leaves on it when I worked for The Nature Conservancy.

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  2. I like bread with molasses in it. Much more flavor.

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  3. Love this bread! I ADORE anadama bread and it always makes me think of my great-grandma, who was famous for her version.

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    1. We never had anything like this when I was growing up, so fun to explore others traditions.

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  6. Anadama bread is the BEST! So are red hot dogs, and Geary's London porter, and Moody's diner pie... Didn't know your SO was a Mainer :)

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    1. David says the pie at Dysarts is better! :)

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  7. That looks so good! I love home made bread! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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    1. Certainly, thanks for stopping by Paula!

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  8. Family loved this... when do we get the bean recipe?

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  9. The kids loved this, I had to make two batches over the weekend so I can use some for my turkey stuffing... may need a third batch. When do we get the bean recipe?

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    1. Glad you liked it Chad. I can't post the bean recipe until I perfect it and have it approved by the Maine Bean Commission (aka David).

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