Sunday, November 10, 2013

Anadama BBA Recipe

Yesterday I made the BBA Anadama bread.  The composition of the bread actually started the day before when I had to make a "soaker" of corn meal and water:

I used the same Great Smoky Mountain stone ground corn meal that I used in the Anadama bread on Friday.  In many breads with cornmeal, the cornmeal soaks in boiling water until it reaches room temperature, but this one started in lukewarm water and soaked all night.  I wondered if it would make the bread less "crunchy" than the Jones' recipe.

On Saturday the real Anadama work began.  Reinhart uses instant yeast, something that isn't a staple in my kitchen but will be in this year of BBA baking!  First you put the soaker in a mixing bowl with some of the flour and let the sponge sit for about an hour until it is bubbly. (I almost forgot to take the photo below so the rest of the flour is sitting on the right half of the sponge).

Then you add all the other dry ingredients along with the molasses (2 T less than in the Jones' recipe), the salt and the shortening and mix it all together.  I used and will continue to use my Kitchen Aid for this project.

Really difficult to mix this in - in most bread recipes, you add the flour 1/2 cup at a time.  I would have been happier to mix the rest of the ingredients in more gradually.

But it did all come together as described into a "tacky" dough.

Then the bread had an opportunity to rise until doubled:

I weighed the risen dough to put equal amounts into each pan.  Mine weighed 26 ounces per loaf instead of the 24 ounces that the recipe said.  I don't think I added flour, but I don't know what was different.

The bread was supposed to rise for an hour but in my warm kitchen, it was cresting above the pans at half an hour.  Reinhart would say that the bread would have a deeper flavor if I had a cooler place in which it had risen - I'll do that the next time.

I had preheated the oven so I brushed the tops of the loaves with water and sprinkled them with corn meal.  

They had good oven spring and looked lovely when they were done.  One side looked perfect:
But the other side looked like this.  I guess I didn't secure the seam very well when I rolled the loaves or they had too much oven spring in my convection oven.

The BBA Anadama sliced beautifully, had a nice crumb and was a much lighter loaf than the Anadama from the Book of Bread.  

Here are the two side by side.  The loaf on the right is from the Book of Bread.  The Anadama on the left is from BBA.  They have approximately the same amount of flour.  The bread on the right has 2 T more of molasses which makes it a darker, more colorful bread.  The BBA bread used instant (rapidrise) yeast and the bread on the right used active dry yeast.

In taste, the Anadama from BBA is much lighter and has a crunchier, crispy crust.  The Anadama from the Book of Bread is sweeter and denser than the BBA loaf.  Both are delicious.  I gave one of my daughters the second loaf from the Book of Bread and another daughter the second (prettier) loaf from BBA.  As for me, I had two soft boiled eggs for breakfast - one on one type of toast and the other on the other type of toast.  A truly luxurious treat.

This coming weekend, the challenge bread is a Greek bread and has a starter, so I got my sourdough out of the downstairs refrigerator and will be feeding it all week to get it up to the task!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Anadama Bread

A number of years ago the Internet was buzzing with the BBA Challenge - over 200 people participated in a challenge to bake every recipe in Peter Reinhart's book: The Bread Baker's Apprentice

I missed that challenge, although I owned the book at that time.  Most of Reinhart's recipes require several days to complete.  I just didn't have it in me to commit that much.

But this year I am up for trying something challenging in the bread baking arena of my life.  I typically bake bread every week - usually on Friday or Saturday.  So this year as of November 1, I am going to bake my way through Reinhart's book.  Unlike previous challenges, I plan frequently to make a different version of the bread in addition to the recipe in BBA.

For example, the first bread is Anadama Bread.  This weekend I made the recipe for Anadama Bread in Judith and Evan Jones' great bread book:  The Book of Bread (Reinhart even refers to the Evans book for a source for the Anadama story), and then today I made the Anadama Bread in BBA.  It was fun to do both versions and we'll see in my taste test in the morning if there is much difference between them.

The Jones' recipe took one afternoon.  I used great corn meal from a Smoky Mountain grist mill for both breads.  And I used a great molasses that I buy when I'm in Asheville at the Farmer's Market in Asheville (which is an amazing place).

Here are photos from making the one day recipe:

You can see that it came together well and made two lovely loaves.  I gave one to my daughter when she brought my grandson for babysitting, but kept the other one.  Yummmmm, is all I have to say!  It has a richness and a sweetness.  Will make delicious toast, I think.

The Anadama story is as per the Jones book, this type of bread was created by accident.  A Yankee fellow came home to his lazy wife.  She had not fixed dinner, but had left him with corn meal mush and a pitcher of molasses.  The angry husband threw the mush and molasses together and added yeast and flour.  He was so mad that he spent the entire time saying, "Anna, Damn her," and thus the bread became known as Anadama bread!