I’ve started making my way through the Bread Bakers Apprentice and I guess there is no better place to start than the beginning. As a bonus, the first recipe is for a loaf, called Anadama which is a loaf from the Northeast that has cornmeal and molasses. The recipe itself intrigued me, and the idea of making some loaves of bread that we could use throughout the week for toast, sandwiches, etc., is something I’d been thinking about doing too. I figured it made sense to spend my time making something useful for the whole family versus something the wife and I would devour in a few days with dinner!
This was a two day process, but the beginning soak was pretty easy – cornmeal (I used some from my package of Polenta) and water combined and allowed to sit overnight. After that is the addition of some flour and yeast to get is all going. Here’s what is looked with all the good looking yeasty bubbles:
The next step was to combine the rest of the ingredients, including the remaining flower and molasses, and get it into a nice mixed batter.
I’ll make a full confession here – I decided to use the Kitchen Aid mixer for this project. In the Bread Bakers Apprentice it talks about using a mixer versus your hands for mixing and kneading, and makes a good point about learning how the dough feels and what a big part of the learning process this is, but that a mixer is just as good. I totally agree with this assessment, but in a house with two little kids running around, devoting a full 12 minutes to kneading is sometimes not an option, so I used the mixer this time.
After mixing it, I let it sit for a few hours to let it double in size. Here it is after letting it sit:
The next step was the kneading which I did in the mixer, then divide into two equal pieces, shape into the proper shape for a loaf, add to a greased loaf pan, and spray with some oil.
Finally, the last step before cooking, is letting it proof (rise) in the pan until it crests the top of the pan:
Now we are ready for baking! Bake for about 40 minutes, turning once, and we are good to go!
I was pretty happy with how it turned out – a little darker than some of the pictures I saw online – but to have fresh, home cooked loaves to use for the week is pretty cool. Oh, it tasted pretty good too!