Whole Wheat Anadama Bread

Is there anything as homey as the smell of fresh bread baking? As Michael Pollan says, “Even if the bread turns out badly, the smell of it baking never fails to improve a house or mood.” The one bread that my mother baked growing up was anadama bread, following a recipe from her high school Latin club’s cookbook. I love this bread. The yeasty, molasses smell wafts through the house, hinting at a soft, doughy center that perfectly cradles a melting pat of butter. Biting into a slice, punctuated by a salty cornmeal crust, makes me sigh with pleasure. Heaven in a loaf pan.

But because I’m Krista– and I like to monkey around with recipes– I wanted to see if I could make anadama bread a bit more wholesome, something I wouldn’t feel guilty about after chowing down two huge loaves. I would only declare my experiment a success if the bread was able to maintain its signature high rise and soft texture. After a bit of online research, I added more water to the recipe and sifted all seven cups of whole-wheat flour before adding it to the dough. Miraculously, it worked!

I cried tears of joy (not really), ate way too many slices (yep), and promptly stored one loaf in the freezer. After all, if I’m going to spend several hours making bread, there better be some for later.

Whole wheat anadama bread

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Whole Wheat Anadama Bread

  • 3 3/4 cups water, divided
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2/3 cup corn meal, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2/3 cup light molasses
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. yeast
  • 7- 7 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour, sifted

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 3 1/4 cups water and salt to a boil. Gradually add corn meal, whisking constantly. Cook over high heat for one minute, whisking constantly. The cornmeal mixture will begin to boil and may splatter, so be careful. Remove from heat and whisk in molasses and butter. Set aside and let cool until just slightly warm, about 25 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water until foamy, about 5 minutes. Using the paddle attachment on low speed, stir in cooled corn meal mixture. Gradually add the sifted flour, switching to the dough hook when necessary. Knead for an additional 6-8 minutes. Dough will be sticky.

Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise until doubled a second time. After second rising, form into two loaves and place in parchment-lined bread pans. Let rise again until doubled.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F. Just before baking, brush tops with an additional 1-2 Tbs. melted butter and sprinkle lightly with additional corn meal and kosher salt. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bottom.

Source: Adapted from the Hodag Cookbook.

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