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Wednesday
Feb222012

Anna, Damn Her: The Story Behind Anadama Bread

CakeSpy Note: For more sweets named after people, visit this post!

There are a few theories out there for where Anadama Bread--a buttery, cornmeal-flecked bread which skirts the edge of dessert territory due to its deep, dark sweetness from a healthy dose of molasses in the batter--got its funny name. The bread itself hails from Rockport, MA.

But my favorite? "A fisherman, angry with his wife, Anna, for serving him nothing but cornmeal and molasses, one day adds flour and yeast to his porridge and eats the resultant bread, while cursing, "Anna, damn her."

Image and another recipe: Simply recipesAs the official Anadama Bread website (yes, there is one) says, 

This is truly a "bit" of Rockport, MA, for Anadama Bread originated in this town many years ago. This is the true story of a local fisherman whose lazy wife always gave him steamed corn meal mush and molasses for dinner. One day when he came in from fishing, he found the same corn meal mush and molasses for dinner and being very tired of it, he decided to mix it with bread flour and yeast and baked it saying, "Anna Damn Her." The bread was so delicious that his neighbors baked it calling it Anadama Bread. Anadama was first baked by the Smith family at 5 Main Street in Rockport during the 1940's and then later at a modern bakery built by the railroad station in Rockport, MA. The company went out of business in 1972 dues to the death of William P.C. Smith, Melissa C. Smith's husband who ran the operation. The Smith Family owned several Rockport, MA and Gloucester, MA businesses from 1929 - 1998 including The Blacksmith Shop Restaurant, The Easterly Inn, The Faraday Inn, The Anadama Bread Bakery, and The Cable House Guest House.

Here's the recipe.

Anadama Bread

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Procedure

  1. Place 1/2 cup water and cornmeal in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until mixture thickens; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter or margarine and molasses. Let cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit until creamy; about 10 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled cornmeal mixture with the yeast mixture; stir until well blended. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt; mix well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  6. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a loaf. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

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