I bet you don’t know this about me…I’m a bread enthusiast. Not just EATING bread, however if it were POSSIBLE to eat only bread and take in the correct nutrients in your diet, I’d be all over that diet…especially if you didn’t wind up weighing 1300 lbs. But, I am a bread baker. Now, the reason you don’t know this about me is because I’ve been devoid of a baking kitchen. My mom’s kitchen is a great kitchen for baking. Especially bread. It is warm in there (so yeast is VERY happy flexing the gluten) and there are basically wrap around counter tops.
I’ve dabbled with bread machines but none make the kind of bread I truly like. I am very fond of crispy crusts, flaky just beneath the crust and airy, cotton-candy like (not in flavor but in texture) body…
So, I’m baking bread again. This time it’s anadama bread. But, it doesn’t HAVE to be any one kind of bread. Please also know I didn’t grow up in a house where my mom baked bread every week, or actually ever baked bread at all unless it was in that new-fangled bread machine (she got long after I had moved out)…I don’t know where I got my love for baking bread. It must be genetic – I believe there are bread bakers on both sides of my family…and I want to live in to my DNA.
I think I mentioned this is anadama bread. It’s one of my favorite recipes in a book that I have baked from many bread recipes. Anadama bread is punctuated by an amber/golden color stemming from the use of black strap molasses and cornmeal in the batter. It just so happens that this recipe is one of those that when you follow it and the bread is gonna “work”, it is simple to know when you’ve kneaded it enough. It gets a smooth, perfect look to it – relatively indescribable – you just know it’s time to stop.
Mind you, I haven’t baked bread in approximately 6 years – so I don’t COMPLETELY remember the flavor, but I remember the feel of it when you bite into it. Yeah, the way the crust crumbles under the teeth, the bread itself melting in your mouth…slightly sweet, but mostly chewy and comforting. Anadama bread (the way I make it) makes wonderful toast.
Can you mess it up? Sure can. When it doesn’t rise, it is like a cormeal, molasses, and flour lump. A doorstop. With this recipe, two doorstops. Dense, unrelenting. I guess that’s a warning to make the recipe correctly. 🙂
Here’s a good picture of some well made Anadama bread:
Here’s the thing. I plan to go on to creating a sourdough starter. Sourdough is wonderful, and once you properly create a starter, you are truly moments away from kneading a dough that will yield sharp, chewy bread…almost always satisfying. After two years of living outside of San Francisco, I learned that white bread should, for all intents and purposes MEAN sourdough. Anything that is white and bread that *isn’t* sourdough is basically wallpaper paste. So, I’m all about it. And, once I find the proper implement to hold the sourdough starter in, I will be baking bread CONSTANTLY! Yay me.
I will, when I someday open my restaurant/place for families to eat who need food, bake all my own bread. Different kinds. Wheat, sourdough, anadama…maybe rye, and oatmeal bread too. I love it. Did I mention I love bread?