anadama bread


It’s a good thing I had well-behaved friends for the most part in high school, because I am apparently highly susceptible to peer pressure. A new baking group has recently been formed, somewhat similar to Tuesday with Dorie, but baking their way through Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I resisted joining the group for a few weeks, because I really don’t need another baking obligation. But I’ve had this book for years and love it, plus if this group can improve my bread-baking skills as much as TWD has improved my dessert-baking skills, it’ll be worth it. And when I heard that Reinhart supported the group, I made the decision to join. I’m a sucker for cookbook authors who support blogs.

I had some trouble figuring out how to fit a new baking group into my blog. I can only produce 3-4 blog entries per week, and I’d like the majority to be unaffiliated with a group. I think I’ve decided on short, simple (I’m doing something simply?!) entries with one photo and a brief analysis of the recipe. Since I joined the group a few weeks after it started, I’m doing a bit of catch up.

Anadama bread is a sandwich bread made with cornmeal and molasses. Reinhart’s MO is to soak grains and/or ferment dough slowly to release as much flavor from them as possible. In this recipe, that means soaking the cornmeal overnight before kneading in the remaining ingredients and continuing with rising and shaping. Reinhart recommends coarser-grained polenta over cornmeal, and it smelled particularly corny after soaking, which was nice.

Overall, this was a nice bread. The texture was very light. I definitely think it needs more salt (the recipe calls for 1.5 teaspoons for 20 ounces of flour; I’ll add at least 2 teaspoons next time). Also, the polenta grains didn’t soften in the bread as much as I would like, adding a crunchiness, but not a good crunchiness. I’ll use regular cornmeal next time. Or I might just stick to the last anadama bread recipe I tried, but adjust the method to soak the cornmeal overnight.

True to most groups who cook their way through a cookbook, we won’t all be posting the recipes. However, Michelle plans to post the recipes on her blog.


  1. Hmm, the distinction between good crunchiness and bad crunchiness may be too fine a point for me, hehe 🙂 Does it make a difference if I say that among the posts in each baking group, yours are among my favorites? 🙂

  2. bridget says:

    Manggy – I know, the crunchy thing wasn’t altogether clear. But it wasn’t like “oh, yum, sunflower seeds in my bread” crunchy, it was more like bits of totally unchewable cornmeal that were just in the way.

  3. I am a fellow TWD baker and I really enjoy your blog. This new baking group sounds good. I can’t get the book right away. I live in Mexico, so someone will have to bring it down to me, then I will join the group. Do you know of any groups baking with books from Flo Braker? I am originally from the SF Bay Area and actually took classes from her years ago. She is a phenomenal baker and a lovely person. She has a new book, Baking for All Occasions. I would appreciate a referral if you know of a group. Thanks, lola

  4. bridget says:

    lola – I don’t know of any groups focused on Flo Braker. I’ve only recently heard of her myself, but I keep hearing great things. I need to check out her new book.

    As far as Peter Reinhart’s book, you should consider baking along now! The recipes are pretty much all available somewhere online, which isn’t to say that the book isn’t worth getting when you can. A significant portion of it is devoted just to a tutorial on general bread baking, plus a majority of the recipes are accompanied by beautiful photographs.

  5. Your loaf looks perfect! Great job. I love the BBA Challenge. Isn’t it a blast?!

  6. I really liked this, with the subtle sweetness. As for the salt content, I tend to toast, butter, and then sprinkle flake sea salt on top, so the salt in the loaf itself isn’t as big of a deal. I get you on the blog groups thing though; I have trouble realizing 80% of my posts are affiliated w/ groups now. Going to have to work on that, I guess!

  7. I’m excited to see your posts on this! I have the book but haven’t made nearly as many recipes out of it as I mean to. I don’t have the flexibility to bake that much now, but hopefully your lovely photos will inspire me to try a few new recipes from it!