I love discovering breads and baking breads that are new to me. I recently discovered Anadama Bread. Anadama Bread is a traditional sweet bread of New England in the US. It is mildly, sweet and nutty because of the addition of cornmeal to the dough. Traditonally, Anadama Bread is made with white flour, cornmeal, molasses and sometimes rye flour.
There are a couple of stories about the origin of this bread.
The most well known one is this quaint one. A fisherman’s wife Anna, used to serve him cornmeal and molasses every evening. One day Anna added flour and yeast to his porridge to make a bread. The fisherman, upset by the lack of variety in his evening meal, ate this bread while apparently muttering “Anna- damn her” and hence the name! Another version credits the fisherman himself. He damned her for serving him the same thing everyday and then added flour and yeast to the porridge and baked it into bread.
Another version of the story suggests Anna dropped the bread causing her husband t o mutter, “Anna, damn her!” Other versions say the husband threw a bag of cornmeal at her, missed, and spilled it into the bread dough; or he grabbed cornmeal instead of flour and tried to make her bread himself.
Yet other version tells of Anna’s husband swearing with pride as he ate thick slices of her tasty bread. One story even goes as far as saying the the epitaph on Anna’s tombstone supposedly read “Anna was a lovely bride, but Anna, damn ‘er, up and died.”
Whatever the story, it all supposedly started with a hungry and frustrated fisherman who swore at his wife Anna, and immortalized the bread. History does not confirm these stories, but Anadama Bread has been baked since before the 1940s and is popular along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S.
I replaced the molasses with dark honey. The molasses/ dark honey also give the bread a beautiful colour. Some people use butter as the fat but I prefer oil here. The bread is baked till the crust is anywhere from a golden brown to a dark brown depending on preference.
This is a re-post of a previously published post that has been updated with text and photography since it was first posted.
- 1 1/4 tsps active dry yeast
- 2 tbsps honey
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3 tbsps oil
- 1 tsp salt
- To the warm water, add the honey and yeast. Mix and allow to prove. In a bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal and salt till well blended. Add the yeast and then the oil. Adding water as required, knead into a soft and pliable dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well oiled bowl. Turn the dough so it is evenly coated with oil. Cover loosely and allow it to rise for about 1 1/2 hours or till it has doubled in volume.
- Gently knead the dough a couple of times. Press out into a rectangle, such that the short side of the rectangle fits your loaf pan. .I used a 9" x 4" loaf pan.
- Tightly roll the dough from the short end, as for a swiss or jelly roll, and pinch the sides to seal neatly. Place the loaf in a greased tin and allow to rise again. Brush with water if you want a crust.
- Bake at dough 190C (375F) for about 35 minutes until it is done and brown in colour. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a rack completely. Do not slice until completely cool.