Introduction: New England "No Need to Knead" Anadama Bread
Most people think that no knead bread is a recent phenomenon but this recipe is for a bread that has not changed much since at least 1850.
Anadama bread is a traditional bread of New England, local legend credits a Gloucester fisherman with coining the term as a not-so-loving tribute to his wife, "Anna". It seems Anna wasn't blessed with talent in the kitchen, and after numerous bowls of not warm enough molasses and cornmeal porridge for supper, the fisherman angrily tossed in some flour and yeast one evening and threw the mixture into the oven. While it baked he sat muttering, "Anna, Damn her!", and as legend states the name was born.
The Molasses gives this bread a bit of a darker color like a brown bread but it is not as sweet as you would think with the ingredients. Speaking of which because the cornmeal is socked in boiling water the bread does not have a "gritty" texture that some people would associate with something like cornbread. This bread is traditionally eaten with just butter and a bowl of Boston baked beans but I find it goes great with any meat dishes as well especially a hearty stew.
Step 1: The Ingredients...
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup molasses
1.5 tbsp butter (softened)
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 packet instant yeast
2 1/4 cups bread flour
Step 2: Prepare the Cornmeal...
Slowly pour 1 cup of boiling hot water over the cornmeal
Whisk constantly until all water is added and cornmeal is lump free.
- Set aside in a warm spot for 30 minutes to soak.
Step 3: The Base...
Add molasses, butter, and salt to the cornmeal.
Stir to combine.
Mix yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water (should feel slightly warmer than body temperature).
Let sit for 5 minutes, until it turns foamy.
- Stir the yeast into the cornmeal mixture.
Step 4: Flour Power...
Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time until it is all incorporated and no dry flour is visible.
I was able to use a whisk for the first half of the flour, after that I just used a plastic scraper (did not even get my hands dirty in this recipe! No kneading!
Put the wet dough mixture in a greased loaf pan.
- Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and let rise 3-4 hours, until doubled in volume.
Step 5: Damn It Tastes Good!
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F
Bake the bread for 45-50 minutes, until bread is brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
Turn the bread out onto a rack to cool completely.
- Slice, spread on butter and Enjoy!
Most people would expect a more rustic bread from a 160 year old recipe but this bread comes out more like a modern brown bread and could easily be used in sandwiches. I want to try to make some homemade Boston Brown Beans to eat with this to get the full historical effect, I think it would go together perfectly.
This was the easiest bread I have ever made and it came out so nice I will definitely make this again. I was really shocked how it held together without kneading as I was taught that you needed to knead to develop the gluten or the bread would not hold together or develop the air pockets. This bread broke all those rules.
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