January 03, 2010

Anadama Bread

It's been snowing for 36 hours non-stop. The weather forecast says it might stop by midnight, but right now it's snowing harder than ever!

On a snowy day I like to make bread, and today's loaf of choice is Anadama bread. It's very New England!

Some quick facts:

  • Anadama bread supposedly got its name when a Yankee farmer came home from a hard day in the fields to find his wife Anna had once again prepared nothing but boiled cornmeal mush for dinner. "Anna, damn her!" he shouted, and mixed the flavorless mush with molasses, flour, yeast and salt. The result? A delicious bread.
  • Another variation on this legend claims that Anna was actually very good at baking. When she died her husband missed her bread so much he wrote this on her tombstone: "Anna was a lovely bride, but Anna damn her up and died!"
  • Anadama is basically a sandwich style bread, but with cornmeal and molasses. Imagine Indian pudding in a loaf. Yum
  • I'm using a recipe from Baking Illustrated by America's Test Kitchen, but there are plenty of recipes on the Web, like this one. The Old Farmer's Almanac has a slight variation that involves boiled molasses and a story about a fisherman instead of a farmer.
  • The true origins of this bread are murky. For instance, Wikipedia and this site owned by the Smith family of Rockport claim the bread's origins can only be traced back to the 1940s. However, the Food Timeline notes that the U.S. Patent office has a patent from 1850 for Anadama bread, so it was probably being baked since the mid-19th century.


Heather Rojo said...

My favorite bread! I just found a recipe for my bread machine, and I'm in 7th heaven!

Peter M. said...

Heather - Let me know how it comes out!

Heather Rojo said...

I've made about eight loaves in the past month or so, and it's great. I love my bread machine, and it's great to find a recipe that works well in it.