Glorious Anadama Batards, the movie. Long loaves of sturdy cornmeal and molasses-spiked bread, perfect to eat with homemade Camembert. Here's the story of how they're made.
I love anadama bread, which I first tasted at the Loaf and Ladle, a landmark in Exeter, NH. My daughter was in high school, and it was cool to hang out at the soup place when I would visit. Yeah.
However, the bread that came with my soup was just amazing. Anadama bread. What's that?
Supposedly this is a New England bread, which isn't surprising, because of the faint sweetness of the molasses. But it is only a vaguely sweet taste, and well within non-breakfast limits. Cornmeal is baked into the bread, and sprinkled on the crust for crunch.
As for molasses, I am not a fan in general. ( Boston molasses disaster ....) I will confess, that there are only two things that will make me use molasses, and this is one of them. And actually, when this bread is baking, your house will fill with quite a wonderful aroma.
I have downsized these loaves a bit, to use with cheese, but you may scale them differently to make a standard-sized loaf. You may also use loaf pans if you like.
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
3 T butter
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp salt
3 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup room temp. water
3/4 cup thick sourdough starter (optional)
4 cups all-purpose flour, and additional flour for adjusting texture of dough
1. Put the corn meal in the bowl of an electric mixer, then pour in the boiling water. Mix with wooden spoon. It will become thick very rapidly.
2. Add the butter, molasses and salt; mix well.
3. Put the dough hook on the mixer. Add the water and one cup of the water, start mixing. After one minute, add the yeast, and two more cups of flour.
4. Mix 4 minutes with the dough hook on medium speed. Then add the sourdough starter and last cup of flour. Mix until completely incorporated, and dough is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes more. The dough should be firm. If not firm, add flour while mixing until the dough becomes firm in texture.
5. Turn out on floured counter, and form a ball by bringing the outside edges to the center several times.
6. Put this dough in a large, covered bowl to rise until doubled.
7. When dough has doubled, form two loaves by cutting the dough in half with a dough scraper, slightly flattening each piece, then rolling up the loaf. Elongate the dough by pulling gently. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with corn meal.
8. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap dusted with flour. Allow loaves to rise until almost finished size; this bread does not have tremendous oven spring.
9. When almost ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F. Mix one egg with 1 tsp water in a small bowl; brush this on the top of each loaf. Then sprinkle liberally with corn meal, and finally with a small pinch of salt.
10. Slash the top of the loaf, and then bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until well-browned.
11. Enjoy with Camembert, tapenade, or ham.