Thursday, November 4, 2010

BBAC - Anadama Bread

A pretty simple post today, to go along with a simple bread. A bread that I would have never baked if not for the Bread Bakers Apprentice Challenge. You’ve never heard of the BBAC? It’s lots of fun. You go out and get yourself a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. You join the BBAC group on facebook. Then you bake your way through the book, from A to Z. Simple, fun, challenging! I have always wanted to be able to bake bread. To make my 350 square feet of living space smell like the inside of a bakery.

Bread is one of those food items that it seems silly to make, right? I mean bread is two dollars at the store, maybe three at the bakery. Why make your own? Because a sandwich tastes better when made on home baked bread. Toast is so much more crunchy and flavorful. French toast comes out richer. Everything just tastes better. So challenge yourself, get a biceps workout and enjoy bread, warm from the oven.

Anadama Bread

According to Peter Reinhart, Anadama bread is originally from New England.  The bread is accompanied with this story.  "A Rockport, Massachusetts man who was upset with his wife not only for leaving him, but also for leaving behind only a pot of cornmeal mush and molasses.  The angry husband tossed the mush and molasses together with some yeast and flour and muttered, "Anna, damn 'er!"  Enjoy!

1 cup (6 oz) corn meal
1 cup (8 oz) water

4 ½ cup (20.25 oz) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (0.22 oz) instant yeast
1 cup (8 oz) lukewarm water (90°-100 °F)
1 ½ tsp (0.38 oz) salt
6 tbsp (4 oz) molasses
2 tbsp (1 oz) shortening

The day before you want to make the bread, combine 1 cup water and cornmeal. Let this mixture sit overnight at room temperature.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal with 2 cups flour, yeast and water. Allow to sit for 1 hour. The mixture should be all bubbly. If it isn’t, your yeast might be dead.

Add remaining flour, salt, molasses and shortening. Mix until it forms a sticky mass. Transfer the dough to the counter (sprinkled with flour) and being kneading. Or you can use your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. I don’t have a stand mixer, so I got an arm workout. Knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough passes the windowpane test.

Spray some cooking spray into a bowl and add dough. Turn dough to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 90 minutes until doubled in size. Divide dough into two equal pieces (use a food scale to be precise). Shape the halves into loaves and place in a lightly oiled loaf pan. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and allow the loaves to rise for 60-90 minutes, until the loaves start to escape the pan.

Heat oven to 350 °F. Place loaves onto a baking sheet and place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate the pans. Bake for an additional 20-30 minutes until done (internal temperature should be between 185° and 190 °F).

Remove from the oven and take bread right out of the pans. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before diving in.
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