Anadama Bread
Anadama bread is a traditional dark yeast bread of New England made with wheat flour, cornmeal and molasses.
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Makes: 1 loaf
  • 300 g (10 fl oz) water
  • 225 g (8 oz) white bread flour
  • 135 g (4½ oz) wholemeal bread flour
  • 4 tbsp molasses
  • 25 g (1 oz) cornmeal
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Place the water, butter and molasses in a pan. Heat with stirring until the butter has all melted.
  2. Add in the cornmeal and salt and stir well. Bring gently to the boil with stirring, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Once the mixture has cooled to just above room temperature you can add in the dried yeast, mix and allow to stand for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  4. Mix the flours in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the liquid mixture. Mix to a sticky dough.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until elastic. Sift on a little more flour from time to time to make the dough workable.
  6. Place the dough in a lightly-greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to double in size.
  7. Turn the dough out and knock back. Knead for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Place the dough in a lightly-greased 1½ litre (6 cup) loaf tin and place in a large plastic bag. Leave in a warm place until the dough has risen above the rim of the tin by at least ½" (1½ cm). NOTE: This may take 3-4 hours!
  9. Slash the top of the loaf a few times and bake at 180°C/360°F fan oven, 200°C/400°F conventional oven for 15 minutes, then bake at 165°C/330°F fan oven, 180°C/360°F conventional oven for a further 30 minutes.
  10. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
The dough is sticky from the molasses and a bit tricky to knead but gentle applications of extra flour during the first kneading will help. Try not to add more than 3-4 tbsp of extra flour, and do not be tempted to add extra flour during the second kneading.

The bread freezes well and is best served warm or as toast. I prefer to eat it with jams and marmalades but I'm told it goes well with butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

The bread dates from 19th century Massachusetts. There is a legend surrounding the creation of the recipe which goes something like this...

A New England woman named Anna provoked her husband — some say through laziness, others say from baking the same bread daily, or for not finishing her bread-baking. The husband either threw a bag of cornmeal at her and missed, but spilled it into the dough; or he grabbed cornmeal instead of flour and tried to finish her bread. He muttered, "Anna, damn her!"