I’d planned on joining Pinch My Salt’s BBA-Challenge. Unfortunatley I missed the cut-off date to join, but I’ve decided to play along at home anyway. The first bread in the book is “Anadama Bread.” Compared to many of the breads I’ve made using Reinhart’s books, this bread was quick and simple to make! The warm temperatures here in Texas made for quick rising times, leaning more to the 60 minute side than the 90. For someone used to making sourdoughs that have 4 hour rise and 2-3 hour proofing times, this bread went by in a blur – but not so quickly that I wasn’t able to take step-by-step photos.

Anadama Bread
Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s “Bread Baker’s Apprentice” – pg 108

6oz (1C) Coarse grind cornmeal
8oz (1C) Room temperature water
15.75oz (3.5C) Unbleached Bread Flour
4.5oz (1C) White Whole Wheat Flour
.22oz (2t) Instant Yeast
8oz (1C) Room temperature water
.38oz (1.5t) Salt
3oz (4.5T) Molasses
1oz (1.5T) Agave nectar
1oz (2T) Room temperature butter
Cornmeal for dusting (optional)

As a note, the original recipe calls for all white flour, no whole wheat. It also calls for 4oz/6T of molasses, but I was running short. I’ve found that agave nectar can almost always be substituted for sweetness and caramelization of crust, but it won’t have quite the same rich flavor.


On the evening before you want to make your Anadama Bread mix the cornmeal and 1 cup of water in a small bowl. This will make a sort of cornmeal porridge. Leave this, lightly covered with plastic wrap, on your counter overnight.

On the morning of the next day add 4.5oz (1C) of wheat flour and 4.5oz (1C) of white flour, or 9oz (2C) of white flour if not using wheat, the yeast, water, and the cornbread soaker in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to combine the ingredients. You can also mix in a bowl with a bowl whisk or wooden spoon.

When mixed the ingredients will be a wet batter. Set this aside and allow it to rest at room temperature, lightly covered, for 1 hour.

When it is ready the starter will have smoothed out and become foamy and bubbly on top.

Once starter is ready, add the remaining flour, salt, molasses, agave nectar (if using), and butter.

Dough - Mixed

Mix until it all the ingredients are just incorporated and have started to pull together into a ball.

Dough - Kneaded

Switch out your paddle attachment to the dough hook. Knead dough for 6-8 minutes on “2″ (For KitchenAids). The dough will work itself to a tacky dough. It will not be “silky” like white dough due to the cornmeal. If kneading by hand this will take closer to 10 minutes to reach the proper gluten formation.

Dough - Rising

Place your dough into a lightly oiled bowl or bucket and turn to coat. I prefer to use a food-grade bucket. I mark the level of dough with a piece of tape and a marker so I can get a more accurate idea of when it has doubled in volume. Doubling will take between 60-90 minutes and depends upon the ambient temperature of your house, the temperature of your dough, and how active your yeast is. Listen to your dough and work on its schedule, not the clock’s!

Dough - Dividing

Turn the dough out of the bucket and onto a floured surface. I prefer to use a pastry cloth. Use a dough cutter to divide the dough into two equal pieces.

Doughs - Shaped and Panned

Shape the dough into loaves and place in lightly oiled 9×5″ loaf pans. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and the cover the pans with a clean linen kitchen towel. Do not use terry cloth, it will stick! I shape my loaves using almost the same technique that Mark at the Back Home Bakery demonstrates for baguets and batards in this video.

Loaves - Risen

Proof the dough for 60-90 minutes, checking at about the 45 minute mark. When your dough is close to cresting the top of the pan, preheat your oven to 350F. Spritz the tops of the loaves and dust with cornmeal. Place the loave pans on a baking sheet to give the bottoms added protection and bake for 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark rotate your pan 180 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes.

Loaves - Testing for Doneness

Loaves are done when they reach an internal temperature of 185-190F. I prefer to bake my bread to at least 200F to insure a done center. To test for doneness, turn one loaf out of its pan and insert a probe thermometer into the bottom.

When done, remove your loaves from the pan and set them on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour before cutting. Premature cutting can result in a loss of texture to your crumb.

I couldn’t be happier with the way this bread turned out. The cornmeal on top offers a sharp difference in taste from the mildly sweet crumb, which has a texture somewhere between white bread and buttermilk cornbread. The crust is soft like a good sandwich bread, which is another big change from my sourdough boules. Cornmeal, wheat flour and molasses combine to give this bread a warm golden hue throughout.

I’m submitting this bread to both this month’s Baking Day and to this one of my very favorites, this week’s YeastSpotting.


15 Comments on Anadama Bread

  1. rachel says:

    Thanks for the entry!

  2. Libby says:

    Saw your link on TFL. Congrats on the new camera. You will enjoy it. I have two Pannys that I use for fun. For my pro work I shoot Nikons.

    Good luck with the blog. It can be a real time sucker though. But now that you are hooked really doesn’t matter ;-)

    I will be baking sor of “out of order” for BBA. The family wants hamburger rolls for this weekend so I may do the Kaisers in the book.

    • SulaBlue says:

      Oh, it’s already eating up my days! I’ve been meaning to drag my sourdough starter out of the fridge for the last 2 days and still haven’t gotten around to it. Poor neglected starters!

  3. jeannette says:

    Just come over from The Fresh Loaf to see you! Your pictures are excellent and I love your step by step lesson! I will be back! Jeannette

    • SulaBlue says:

      Thank you, Jeannette. I look forward to hearing from you again. I’m still working on the layout a bit, so hopefully in the future I can get the text out to the side of the pictures for a more elegant look.

  4. Susie says:

    Your bread looks so gorgeous. A natural photographer. :)
    You may have missed the join in date BUT it is great to be baking along with you.

    • SulaBlue says:

      Thanks Susie! I wouldn’t say I was a “natural” photographer. I actually had to take a couple of photography courses back when I was in college as part of my Graphic Design degree.

      Of course, that was a full decade ago – and digital has changed EVERYTHING. It’s a fairly steep learning curve, even on a “point and shoot.”

  5. Eremeeff says:

    Thanks for article. Everytime like to read you.

  6. Divash says:

    Sula, I’m so proud of you. You’re doing a bang-up job with the blogging, and it looks so clean and professional — the site design, the photographs, and your writing style are a fantastic mix. Also, drat you, now I’m going to HAVE to make Anadama bread.

    • SulaBlue says:

      Thank’s Divash! It’s been really fun to finally be able to put together my journalist background, my art background and my love for baking all together in one project. I can’t claim much for the site design – I had a LOT of help with that. The Theme is of course one of any number of free downloadable themes and I’ve simply done some customization with A LOT of help from Ipstenu.

  7. Beautiful golden loaves, and great photos – I love what the new camera can do!

  8. Mary says:

    Your loaves are gorgeous and your pictures are beautiful. That’s a combo that’s hard to beat.

  9. Nanette says:

    The bread looks great and your photos of the process are just gorgeous!

  10. Mr. Bob says:

    Nice looking bread. I sure will try it. I do a lot of Ciabatta bread and rolls every 3 days it seems.

    I have quit q few post on TFL. maybe we can share a few bad experiences. I will be on the raod in about 10 days so my bread baking goes down the tubes. I have a Motor Coach and I only have a Micro/convection oven. Does not do bread good at all.

    Have fune. I have a few web pages and I might get your blog on one as soon as I get it finished. Mostly travel photos over 20 years. Lot of work
    Good Liuck


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