Some breads just call out for a sourdough, or wild yeast, base. They are the breads that seem to be missing something when made with store-bought yeast; perfectly acceptable and all, but not quite living up to their potential.
Anadama bread falls into this category. As a Maine native I grew up eating anadama bread. And yes, we Mainers claim anadama bread as our own, no matter what you Massachusetts and California natives claim.
In a nutshell, the story is that a fisherman, who was not impressed with his wife’s cooking abilities, came home one night to find his usual dinner of molasses and cornmeal a bit overcooked. Cursing her (Anna), he mixed it together with some flour and tossed in the oven. The result was a rich, hearty loaf of bread that is both sweet and nutty.
For this version I used a rye sourdough starter. Why, you ask? Because I am guessing that the fisherman’s cornmeal mush wasn’t overcooked, but fermented – thus sourdough! And rye flour is best for giving us a real fermented flavor. But, if your starter isn’t made from rye flour don’t despair. Simply use rye flour for the final feeding (day 7). See how to keep your sourdough starter bubbling here.
- 1 1/2 cups rye sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here)
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 Tbsp softened butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 – 1 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, combine the starter, molasses, butter, and milk. Add the flours, cornmeal and salt and mix until combined. Knead until a shaggy dough has formed. At this point the dough will be sticky. Turn dough in to a greased bowl, cover, and let rise about 4 hours. The dough will become less sticky during this time as the cornmeal hydrates.
Grease a standard loaf pan, and form dough (as best you can) into a loaf. Place in the pan and let rise an additional 1-2 hours. You may also refrigerate the dough at this time and bake it the following day.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slash the top of each loaf (as you can see, I forgot this step) and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until the internal temperature is about 200 degrees. Move bread to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
I love anadama bread warm with butter, but my husband uses it for his lunchtime sandwich. It especially lends itself to ham and cheese sandwiches spread with a nice beer mustard like Sea Dog Mustard from Raye’s Mustard.
I will also be submitting this recipe to Yeastspotting, so don’t forget to check out all the other yummy bread recipes!