Since Mom’s co-workers are all on Weight Watchers and gave her orders not to bring in any desserts, I can’t bake something new everyday. So today I was flipping through my new Baking Illustrated cookbook (from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated) and saw this recipe for Anadama Bread, which is basically just white bread enriched with cornmeal and molasses. The cornmeal gives the bread a slightly nutty flavor and the molasses adds a subtle sweetness. Apparently this bread has deep roots in the New England area, but I had never heard of it before. It’s an easy recipe but does take a while to rise. I’m having a lot of fun with my new lights and I’m pretty proud of these pictures. =)
1 cup milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp stone-ground cornmeal
3-3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup warm water
1 envelope (~2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
5 tbsp dark molasses
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven reaches 200 degrees, maintain the heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
2. Combine the milk and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan and bring almost to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the cornmeal and continue to stir for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and cool until lukewarm.
3. Mix 3 cups of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the water, yeast, and molasses in a liquid measuring cup. Briefly mix together the flour and salt at low speed, then add the cornmeal mush, mixing at low speed until roughly incorporated, about 1 minute. Still at low speed, gradually add the liquid, and once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape the dough from the hook and sides of the bowl if necessary, about 10 minutes. (After 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour, 1 tbsp at a time and up to 1/4 cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky.) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead to form a smooth, round ball, 15-30 seconds.
4. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
5. Gently press the dough into a rectangle 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. With a long side facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan and press gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough almost doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
6. Keep one oven rack at the lowest position and place the other at the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty loaf pan on the bottom rack. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan.
7. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter in a small saucepan. Remove the plastic wrap from the loaf and carefully brush the top with the melted butter and evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 tsp cornmeal across the top. Pour the boiling water into the empty loaf pan in the oven and set the loaf onto the middle rack. Bake 40-45 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.
*from Baking Illustrated