The first recipe in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is Anadama Bread (yes, we will be bread-baking our way through the alphabet). Honestly, I didn't have high hopes for this one. As my first loaf bread in years, it had the potential for disaster. And what on earth is Anadama Bread? Some sort of spare, stodgy New England creation consisting of cornmeal mush and molasses, its name a corruption of one husband's exasperated curse, "Anna, damn her!" Pilgrim resourcefulness with a hint of misogyny. Yum.
However, I ended up really enjoying this recipe. It is simple and straightforward to make, with none of the usual bread-baking voodoo that so intimidates me. I followed the very detailed instructions and the dough behaved exactly how it was supposed to - sponging and rising and proofing beautifully. I used the Kitchenaid mixer to knead, lest I doom the poor dough with my bread-cursed hands. I also thought I could eyeball the center line of the dough ball when forming the loaves. Not so. One loaf was decidedly chunkier than the other.
The final loaves were pillowy soft and moist throughout, with a pleasantly thin crust. The cornmeal added just a hint of crunch to keep things interesting. And the molasses flavor was nice - hearty, not-quite-sweet. Perfect with some honey butter or some PB&J. I even ate some slices with roasted turkey and mayo. Different but tasty. And the aroma... this bread has a dreamy, drippy molasses aroma that I loved.
One down, forty-two to go.