Lea Wait

Cassie's Anadama Bread
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Cassie’s Anadama Bread (makes 2 loaves – 1 to eat; 1 to freeze!)

Anadama bread is traditional in Maine, but seldom heard of outside New England. It contains few ingredients, hence the tradition that a husband, aggravated at his wife’s lack of productivity and wanting his dinner, threw together some molasses and flour and corn meal and baked them himself, muttering, “Anna, damn her!”

To make anadama bread you’ll need some time and

½ cup cornmeal
½ cup molasses
2 T butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 envelope or cake of dry yeast
2 ½ cups water
5 cups of flour (approximately

Boil 2 cups water. Add the cornmeal and stir, slowly, for a minute or two. Add the molasses, salt, and butter. Cook and stir together until mixed well. Put the mixture in a large bowl and allow to cool a bit. While it is cooling, mix yeast in ½ cup warm water. When mixture in bowl is lukewarm, add the dissolved yeast. Stir.

Now start adding the flour, one cup at a time. When it is a stiff dough, put on a floured surface and knead it. (Push it down; turn it; push it down again.) Add a little more flour if you need to. Continue kneading until you have a ball of dough that is smooth and shines and bounces back when you push it down. This should take 5-8 minutes.

Put this ball of dough in a large buttered mixing bowl in a warm place. Cover it with a light dishcloth and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size. Depending on how warm your room is, this could take 30-90 minutes. After it has doubled, push the dough down in the bowl several times. Then remove it from the bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Divide it in 2, shape it into loaves, and place loaves in greased loaf pans. Cover the pans with a towel and again let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. It should rise until it is just slightly higher than the size of the pans.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees; then reduce the heat and bake at 350 degrees for another 20-25 minutes, or until the loaf tops are slightly brown. Turn the loaves out of the pans and cool on racks.

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