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- What is Anadama Bread?
- 👨🏫 Baker's Percentage Table
- 🛠 Tools Needed:
- 🛒 Ingredients Needed:
- ⏰ Sample Baking Schedule
- 👨🍳 How to Make Sourdough Anadama Bread
- How to Store
- ❓ FAQs:
- Other Enriched Bread Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Sourdough Anadama Bread
Made with cornmeal and molasses, this Sourdough Anadama Bread is a beloved New England classic loaf bread that’s hearty and mouthwatering.
Molasses adds an earthy and nutty sweetness to the loaf, with the robust texture and flavors of cornmeal and whole wheat flour.
Because of the high ratios of whole wheat flour and cornmeal, anadama bread can fall on the denser side of loaf breads.
However, the corn porridge, molasses, butter, and extended fermentation in this sourdough anadama bread recipe open up the crumb quite a bit. A long fermentation is key to getting soft and tender slices like store-bought sandwich bread in this loaf.
It’s excellent in the wintertime served with soups or stews, breakfast toast with butter, or sandwiches.
What is Anadama Bread?
Anadama bread is a classic New England loaf enriched with cornmeal, molasses, and typically whole wheat or rye flour.
Before adding to the bread, a cornmeal porridge or mush is mixed with boiled water. This hydrates the cornmeal and helps soften the interior of the loaf.
Then, molasses and butter is added, contributing more moisture, richness, nutty aroma, definitive brown hue, and a subtle sweetness to the bread.
Like other traditional regional recipes such as maritozzi or whoopie pies, the origins of anadama bread are disputed. However, it’s typically attributed to the Massachusetts coastal North Shore region and spread from there.
The “brown bread” goes particularly well with hearty stews and soups, spread with butter, or for lunch sandwiches.
Sometimes, it’s made with a portion of rye flour. But more often than not (as in this recipe), anadama bread has a significant amount of whole wheat flour, which contributes to the denser texture and assertive flavor of the bread.
👨🏫 Baker’s Percentage Table
I include a baker’s percentage chart to scale a recipe up or down easily. With baker’s percentages, the total weight of all flour in the recipe is 100%.
The 80% hydration here may seem high for a loaf bread, but a cup (224g) of it makes the cornmeal porridge. If you include the cornmeal as a “flour” to this loaf, the hydration is about 67%, which is more typical of a sandwich bread.
I also include the prefermented flour and water from the levain in this flour weight (30g each).
Finally, I note the ingredients proportionally to the total weight of flour (in this case, 390g). That’s why the percentages below will add up to over 100%.
If you want to learn more, the King Arthur website has a more detailed reference page on why and how baker’s percentages are calculated.
|Bread Flour||270 grams (includes 30g for levain*)||69.2%|
|Whole Wheat Flour||120 grams||30.8%|
|Sea Salt||8 grams||2.1%|
|Water||314 grams (includes 30g for levain, divided)||80.5%|
|Sourdough starter||30 grams (all for levain)||7.7%|
|Melted Butter||43 grams||11%|
*Note: If you opt to not make a levain, use 90 grams of active sourdough starter.
🛠 Tools Needed:
Click the links below for my favorite tool recommendations.
- Baking Scale
- Flour and sourdough starter can weigh differently from person to person, so weighing your ingredients is the best option if you can!
- Bread Loaf Pan
- My favorite loaf pan is the small USA Pullman Pan that’s 9″x4″. The tall, straight sides help your loaf breads rise tall and give you a professional looking loaf. I don’t typically use the lid. The heavy-duty pan bakes evenly and has a natural non-stick coating so you don’t have prepare the pan!
- Alternatively, use a standard 8.5×4.5″ bread loaf pan.
- Rolling Pin
- Stand Mixer (recommended)
- Anadama bread is quite sticky. To build up strength, a stand mixer with the fitted dough hook attachment is helpful.
- If you mix by hand, make sure to flour your hands well to prevent sticking. This may result in a denser loaf as you’ll be adding more flour to the recipe.
- Pastry Brush, for egg wash
- Brød and Taylor Folding Proofer (optional, but helpful)
- My home tends to stay cool, so I proof all of my breads in this convenient proofing box that can also act as a slow cooker.
🛒 Ingredients Needed:
Click on the links below for my ingredient recommendations.
- I use old-fashioned stone ground cornmeal for this recipe, just as I do for Sourdough Corn Muffins or Sourdough Honey Cornbread. Stone-ground cornmeal has a better flavor!
- Medium to fine cornmeal is better here so the bread doesn’t taste grainy (unless you like that texture, of course).
- You can use polenta too, but it’ll be a little more grainy.
- Bread Flour
- High-protein bread flour has a higher gluten content, which is needed to get this enriched loaf to rise tall and hold it’s structure (just like making buttery and soft brioche). I push fermentation pretty far for the best results in this loaf, so a bread flour like King Arthur Bread Flour at 12.7% protein content is helpful.
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Use unsulphered molasses. I do not recommend substituting it with blackstrap molasses as it has a lower sugar and moisture content, and is slightly bitter.
- Sourdough Starter
- Melted Butter
- To make the bread vegan, substitute the melted butter with coconut oil or another neutral oil.
- Egg, for egg wash
- The egg wash isn’t 100% necessary, but it gives the loaf a nice sheen on top. Alternatively, you could mix a bit of molasses or maple syrup with water for a similar effect.
⏰ Sample Baking Schedule
The chart below is a sample baking schedule for this anadama bread that works decently for a weekend loaf. Many steps are flexible, depending on your own day-to-day schedule.
For example, you can make the levain the night before (use 10g of starter and 40g of flour and 40g of water). You can also proof the dough overnight in the refrigerator for up to two days to bake on your own time.
|1. Make Levain||9:00am|
|2. Make Cornmeal Porridge||1:30-2:00pm|
|3. Mix Dough||2:00pm-2:15pm|
|4. Bulk Fermentation||2:15pm-7:15pm (5-6 hours)|
|5. Overnight Cold Proof||7:15pm-(or up to two days)|
|6. Shape||Next day, 8:00am|
|7. Final Proof||8:15am-12:15pm (4-5 hours)|
👨🍳 How to Make Sourdough Anadama Bread
Follow this visual and detailed recipe guide as you make the best sourdough anadama bread with cornmeal and molasses.
1. Make the Levain
Mix 30g of sourdough starter, 30g of bread flour, and 30g of water in an empty jar.
If you’d prefer to skip making a levain, use about 90g of active sourdough starter instead.
Cover and set it in a warm location (75-80ºF) for about five hours until it is doubled and bubbly.
Note: The convenient thing about making a levain is that the schedule is very flexible. I typically make a levain with a 1:1:1 ratio, but you can easily alter the ratios to fit your schedule better.
For example, you can use less starter and feed it more flour and water the night before so it’s active in the morning. That way, you can mix it into your dough in the morning.
2. Make the Cornmeal Porridge
When the levain is close to being ready, I make the cornmeal porridge. It’s similar to polenta!
Add 80g of cornmeal (½ cup) to a medium-size mixing bowl. Then, boil 224g of water (1 cup) and pour it on top of the cornmeal. I like to use a gooseneck tea kettle for even distribution and pouring (like making a pour-over coffee).
Mix together with a spatula or spoon and break up any clumps that form. Let the cornmeal porridge hydrate and cool for 30 minutes.
This process softens the cornmeal so it’s less grainy when you add it to your loaf. It’s not unsimilar to making instant oatmeal (or how you would incorporate an oat porridge for a loaf). The corn porridge helps keep the loaf softer for days and gives it a custard-like creamy interior.
Why Make a Porridge?
This process softens the cornmeal so it’s less grainy when you add it to your loaf. It’s not that different from making instant oatmeal (or how you would incorporate an oat porridge for a loaf). The corn porridge helps keep the loaf softer for days and gives it a custard-like creamy interior.
The step is also similar to making a yudane, which is one of my favorite methods of lending extra softness to a loaf by gelatinizing and pre-cooking starches. It’s a method I use for Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls and Sourdough Dinner Rolls.
3. Mix the Dry Ingredients
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix 240 grams of bread flour (2 cups), 120 grams of whole wheat flour (1 cup), and 8 grams of salt.
4. Mix the Dough
Once the cornmeal porridge has set for 30 minutes, stir in 85 grams of molasses (¼ cup) and 43 grams of melted butter (3 TBS) into the porridge.
Pour all of the levain, the cornmeal/molasses mixture, and 60 grams of water (¼ cup) into the stand mixer bowl with the dry ingredients.
Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on low speed until it comes together into a sticky mass.
Increase the speed to medium-low and mix for 5-8 minutes, or until the dough is smoother (it’ll still be sticky) and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
If there aree any dry spots of flour or if the dough appears too stiff, drizzle in a bit more water as it mixes. The dough should be almost like the consistency of a high-hydration sourdough bread.
It won’t pass the windowpane test yet, because the dough develops its strength from a couple of folds during fermentation.
Mixing by hand: If you mix this dough by hand, it will be very sticky and you’ll need to flour your hands, the work surface, and the dough throughout mixing.
Knead on a lightly floured surface with floured hands for about 10 minutes and only add flour as necessary to prevent sticking. The dough will be denser because of the added flour.
5. Bulk Fermentation
Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl (or leave it in the stand mixer bowl) and use damp hands to gently stretch and fold the dough a few times in bowl. Bring it together into a round mass.
Cover and place in a warm location (around 80ºF ideally) for bulk fermentation.
Ferment the dough for 5-6 hours total, or until it at least doubles in size. This dough tends to be a little sluggish.
After one hour in bulk fermentation, use damp hands to stretch and fold the dough a few times. Repeat the folds twice more during bulk fermentation, each separated by an hour each (at least three total sets of folds).
The folds will help strengthen the dough structure and evenly distribute the gases formed in fermentation.
6. Overnight Proof
Place the dough into the refrigerator to continue proofing overnight and up to two days.
The dough likely won’t grow too much during the cold-proof, but it will develop more flavor and continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator. I found that it’s very hard to over-proof this dough.
The cold-proof will also help with shaping this otherwise sticky dough.
The next day, or baking day, remove the cold dough from the refrigerator, make a fist, and punch it down in the bowl.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle a light coating of flour on top of the dough. Use the rolling pin to roll it out into an oval slab, about ¼-inch thick.
Then, use floured hands to roll up the dough into a 9″ log.
Before transferring to the bread loaf pan, I like to roll the dough in a light coating of cornmeal. It helps prevent sticking and adds a slight textural contrast to the crust of the loaf.
To do so, sprinkle a light layer of cornmeal onto a small baking sheet or flat platter. Then, roll the dough in the cornmeal. Brush off any excess so you only have a light coating of cornmeal all over the loaf.
8. Final Proof
Transfer the dough to your bread loaf pan, seam-side down.
Cover and proof in a warm location for 4-5 hours, or until the dough rises to the top of the pan or at least doubles in size. It rose to the top of my pullman pan as seen in the images below!
This is a slow-rising dough and it’s unlikely that you’ll overproof it unless you’re not paying attention to it at all. Set timers every hour or so to check on it and let it go longer if it needs to. If it’s underproofed, it’ll be denser but still delicious.
To test when the dough is finished proofing, you can use the finger-poke test. Take a floured finger and poke the dough. If the dough springs back quickly and it feels dense, then it’s underproofed. If the dough feels very light and leaves an indentation, then it’s ready!
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (191ºC).
Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the loaf with an egg wash for a lovely glisten.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the crust is dark brown and the interior temperature reads 200ºF (93ºC) when an instant-read thermometer is stuck into the middle.
If it’s underbaked, it’ll be gummy inside.
Note: For the last 10-15 minutes of baking, pay attention to the color of the crust. Every oven bakes differently, so if you notice that the top of the loaf is getting too dark, tent it with a piece of aluminum foil.
The molasses in the dough and mailliard reaction from the egg wash can make the crust get a bit dark before it’s fully baked.
Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out the hot bread loaf from the pan and cool for at least an hour.
This way, the sides of the bread don’t get soggy as it cools.
Finally, slice and enjoy!
How to Store
Sourdough anadama bread stores very well!
The corn porridge, molasses, and sourdough help preserve the loaf for longer than most sandwich breads, while remaining soft and easy to slice.
You can store anadama bread covered at room temperature for 3-4 days. Once sliced, and the longer it sits, the bread will begin to dry out some. This can be remedied by reheating in a toaster oven for a couple of minutes.
To store in the refrigerator, you can keep the bread covered for about a week.
How to Freeze
After baking and cooling, slice the bread and place the slices into a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for three months.
To reheat, simply place the slices in a toaster oven or oven at 350ºF (177ºC) for a few minutes until warmed through.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes. Double all of the ingredients and divide the dough in two when you shape it and bake in two bread loaf pans.
What to eat with anadama bread?
Anadama bread is hearty, made with cornmeal, molasses, and whole wheat flour. It goes particularly well with winter stews or soups, toasted with butter, or made into any lunch sandwich.
How can I make vegan sourdough anadama bread?
Yes, eliminate the egg wash and substitute the melted butter with coconut oil or another neutral oil.
Other Enriched Bread Recipes You May Enjoy:
Sourdough Anadama Bread
- Mix the levain ingredients in a jar. Cover and set in a warm location (75-80ºF) for about five hours until doubled and bubbly.30 grams Water, 30 grams Sourdough Starter, 30 grams Bread Flour
- When the levain is close to being ready, make the cornmeal porridge. Place the cornmeal in a medium mixing bowl. Then, pour in the boiling water and stir, breaking up any clumps that form. Let the porridge hydrate and cool for 30 minutes.80 grams Cornmeal, 224 grams Boiling Water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer*, mix the dry ingredients.240 grams Bread Flour, 120 grams Whole Wheat Flour, 8 grams Sea Salt
- Stir the molasses and melted butter into the bowl of cornmeal porridge.Pour the cornmeal/molasses mixture, all of the levain, and water into the stand mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook attachment.Begin mixing on low speed until the sticky dough comes together, a couple of minutes. Then, slowly increase the speed to medium-low and mix for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smoother and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl (it'll still be sticky).85 grams Unsulphered Molasses, 3 TBS Unsalted Butter, Levain, 60 grams Water
- Transfer to another bowl (or leave in the stand mixer bowl), and use damp hands to gently stretch and fold the dough a few times in the bowl. Cover and bulk ferment in a warm location for 5-6 hours total, or until it at least doubles in size.During bulk fermentation, use damp hands to perform three stretch and folds separated by an hour each. Let the dough set for the remainder of bulk fermentation.
- Place in the refrigerator to proof overnight and up to two days.
- The next day, or baking day, punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Flour the top of the dough and use a rolling pin to roll it out into an oval slab, about ¼-inch thick. Then, roll it up into a 9" log.Roll the log in a thin layer of cornmeal on a baking sheet or platter, brush off any excess cornmeal, and transfer to a bread loaf pan, seam-side down.
- Cover and proof in a warm location for 4-5 hours, or until the dough rises to the top of the pan. The dough can be a little sluggish, so give it more time if it needed. To test when it's fully proofed, use a floured finger to poke it. If it leaves an indentation and feels light and airy, then it's fully proofed.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF (191ºC).Beat an egg into a small bowl and brush the egg wash on top of the dough before baking.Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the crust is dark brown and the interior temperature reads 200ºF (93ºC). If the crust is getting too dark during baking, tent it with foil.Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then turn the bread out to cool at least an hour on the wire rack. Slice and enjoy!1 Egg
- *This bread is quite sticky to mix by hand, but possible. Flour your work surface, hands, and the dough throughout mixing and knead for about 10 minutes. Only add more flour as necessary so the bread doesn’t come out too dense.
- Follow the guide for more detailed instructions, photos, and tips for making this sourdough anadama bread.