Anadama Bread: Just Add Molasses!

Some people might think that cookbooks are going the way of the dinosaur.

The internet is full of a gazillion recipes, so why limit yourself to a cookbook?

I’ll tell you why: Anadama bread.

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I’ve never, ever heard of Anadama bread before. I can’t imagine stumbling across it online. But there it is in my Bread Illustrated cookbook, nestled tidily into the sandwich breads chapter.

I like trying variations on the regular American sandwich bread. I was going to make a quinoa whole wheat loaf, when I realized that I had leftover molasses from making bagels. I double checked that it was the right kind (robust, not blackstrap), and realized I had everything I need to whip up a fluffy russet coloured loaf of Anadama bread.

From what I gather, Anadama bread is the bees knees in New England. It uses molasses and cornmeal, two ingredients that evidently go way back in the ole northeast. It also has a little melted butter – but aside from these ingredients, the rest of the loaf is pretty standard for sandwich bread.

You can bust out a loaf of this in an afternoon from start to finish. I tried baking my loaf at the same time as I was making vanilla macarons, which resulted in some tricky timing with the oven. It’s moments like this that you realize why those fancy kitchens have two ovens – because what else can you do when you want to bake macarons and Anadama bread at the same time!

As a result, the loaf had a little extra rising time. By the time it was ready to be baked, it was bursting out of the pan. I worried that this would either result in a) a collapsed bread or b) a big air pocket, but in the end, neither happened. Instead, I got a thick, gorgeous loaf of molasses bread.

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You can definitely taste the molasses in this bread. I associate molasses with things like gingerbread loaf, gingerbread cookies, and gingerbread houses (seeing a theme?), so it was very odd to have this festive odour filling my kitchen in the heart of the summer.

Never in a million years would I think to add molasses to bread. Never could I have imagined that Anadama bread was a thing. But you know what?

It works. And I like it. Anadama bread just might become the hottest new thing in the PNW – and you heard it here first.

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