Sunday, November 2, 2008

Reinhart's Anadama Bread

Like many of you fellow bakers out there, some of you just get the urge to knead dough. It happens to me alot, especially when I need to calm stress or just have the urge to bake. We also needed some bread in the house. It was perfect. Leafing through the few bread books I have with me in the states, I decided to make Peter Reinhart's Anadama Bread. I had made this loaf once before, but the cornmeal that I used was so... earthy shall I say, that the resulting loaves tasted like, well, earth. In the nicest possible way. Needless to say, they were not edible. My sister recently gave me a canister of pleasant smelling cornmeal and I decided to attempt it again. I was nervous, I won't lie. But the cornmeal pulled through! The resulting loaves were reallllly good! I loved the flavor. Subtle, but nutty with an even and brown crumb from the molasses. The crust was particurly good, as well. I stashed one loaf in the freezer as usual and the other was enjoyed by my mom and me throughout the week. If it's not white, my dad won't touch it. It starts with an overnight soaking of the cornmeal to extract as much flavor possible. Putting the rest together was easy. I mixed with a mixer-- I know!- but finished it off by hand to make sure the consistency was correct. I'm not always so sure with the mixer. This is a very good sandwich loaf. Slices of it are particularly good with cream cheese.

Anadama Bread
Bread Baker's Apprentice

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup water

4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tsp yeast
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp shortening or butter at room temperature

The night before baking, combine the cornmeal and water in a container. Stir and let sit overnight.

On baking day, make the soaker. In you mixer bowl, place 2 cups of the flour, water, yeast and the soaker.
Stir to combine.

Allow to rise for one hour or until bubbly.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl,

and mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Knead the dough with the dough hook until it begins to clean the side of the bowl. At this stage, I removed it from the bowl and finished kneading by hand.

Here is my kneaded dough.

Place in a large bowl to rise until doubled in size.

Here is the beautifully risen dough.

Pour it out onto a lightly floured counter.

Divide the loaves into two equal pieces shape into loaves.
Place the loaves into two greased pans to proof.

Towards the end of proofing, preheat the oven to 350. The proofed loaves. I suspect that I need to use smaller loaf pans next time so that the loaves actually rise above the rims...
Dust with cornmeal.
Bake for around forty minutes, rotating the loaves halfway through until the loaves are nice and golden. Cool on a wire rack.

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