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.