essays

Cathartic Ink

putting my own spin on things

Bread and a Challenge

Loaves

One recent evening Nicole of Pinch My Salt announced, via Twitter, that she was going to bake every recipe in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and asked if anyone else might be willing to virtually bake along with her. As I am never one to turn down a challenge and I bake most of our bread I quickly signed on for the ride. I ordered the book from Amazon and it arrived shortly before I fell down our front steps and bruised my ribs. Since I’ve been a little laid up since then, it’s been perfect reading. The first 100 pages of the book are all about the hows and whys of bread, written in such a way to encourage you to keep the pages turning. And turn I did.

And that’s how we get to the first recipe, Anadama Bread. According to legend this bread is of New England origin–although I’ve never heard of it before, have you Mom?–involving a man who, upon the discovery that his wife had left him with naught but a drop of molasses and some leftover cornmeal porridge proclaimed “Anna, damn her” as he mixed up this bread. Time and polite society slurred the words together and the result is Anadama, a lightly sweet wheat loaf studded with fragments of coarsely ground corn with a lovely golden tan color. A soft bread, this loaf is perfect for sandwiches and the cornmeal adds a great crunch, especially when toasted.

Anadama Bread

All in all, it’s an easy loaf to make and the final product is versatile (other members of the group have made it into French toast, bread salad, and bread pudding and well as shaping into rolls rather than loaves). I found it to be a very pretty loaf, with a good crumb and a lovely color but not a remarkable flavor. I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, please see Nicole’s site, or check out the Flickr pool.

11 Comments

  1. Susie

    Hope your ribs get all better soon.
    Great job on the bread.
    I like the taste of this bread but not the crunch. :o)
    Great baking along with you,
    Susie

  2. jaya

    I tried something similar, but hubby has fallen head over heels in love with the multigrain bread, and pretty much nixed the idea of trying other bread – so be careful, lest you fall into the same trap!

  3. Haley J.

    Good toast made from great bread is a beautiful thing, Isn’t it? Hope your Artos choice is going well.

  4. Sweetcharity

    Nice looking loaves. I loved this bread… something about the cornmeal and molasses combination.
    Good to be baking with you!

  5. T

    this sounds like fun! I’m not much of a baker but I’ve been meaning to learn to make bread…

  6. mom

    Why yes I know it very well. When I worked as a cook at the little resort here that summer before I went away to college, I made it on a regular basis. It was a favorite with the guests and the legend does hold. I love the flavor and texture and don’t know why I never made it when you guys were little.

  7. Hélène

    I’m glad you’re doing the challenge. Your bread turned really nice. I love it toasted with butter & PB.

  8. penny

    for once i’m happy there are a few miles between us as my gluten-free requirement would probably fail quite quickly in your presence… that looks very YUM and I’m hungry now!!!

  9. lisa

    anadama is normal around here. it’s at all the restaurants/breakfast joints/bakeries .

    my favorite way to have it – anadama french toast when out for breakfast. 🙂 YUM.