Thursday, August 4, 2011

Anadama Bread: do you know what that is?

The weather and my scheduled has made my cooking and baking almost non-existent.  I miss it.  When there are periods in my life like this I truly feel like something is missing.  I kind of feel a bit useless.

Thus, it is not so hard to get up at 5:45am and start baking. Yes, I should probably be doing an early workout or cleaning the floors. Yikes, I haven't done that for two weeks.  Good thing my husband doesn't notice the giant dust balls in the corners or my ever expanding love handles.

Visiting Maine last weekend I was reminded of a yummy treat that is a true New England specialty.  Growing up in Iowa, I was completely unaware the first sixteen years of my life that Anadama bread existed.  Once in Maine, I swear it took me almost a year to learn how to say it correctly.  Ann - Ah - Dam - Ah, in case you were wondering.  Emphasis on the Dam-Ah.

There are several popular myths about the origin of the name (from Wikipedia):

"A fisherman, angry with his wife, Anna, for serving him nothing but cornmeal and molasses, one day adds flour and yeast to his porridge and eats the resultant bread, while cursing, "Anna, damn her." The neighbors baked it because it was so delicious and coined it Anadama or Anadamy."

Funny how it is always the wife's fault.  The actual location is unknown but most people believe it came from the fishing villages in the 1800's off the coast of Massachusetts, mainly Gloucester.  Yep, the perfect storm town. 

I love the bread because the molasses makes it a bit sweet and the cornmeal makes it hearty.  It is great in the morning for toast.  Toasted cheese and pesto or PB&J sandwiches anyone?  The recipe is a bit complicated but well worth the effort.

Anadama Bread

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Place 1/2 cup water and cornmeal in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until mixture thickens; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter or margarine and molasses. Let cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit until creamy; about 10 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled cornmeal mixture with the yeast mixture; stir until well blended. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt; mix well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  6. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a loaf. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.


    1. Wow! That’s one pretty loaf. Would love to have homebaked bread! I guess I need to start baking bread soon.

    2. This loaf looks tasty, I thought it had wheat flour in it and then realized that the molasses made it such a tawny color. I would love to have a slice-yum!

    3. I love it - the bread, the story....everything! I've never heard of it ever...but living as far from Maine as you can get - it's not surprising! I believe I'll have to try this one! Buzzing and bookmarking!

    4. I have never heard of this bread, but now I totally want some!!


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