YOU GUYS. Something happened to me the other day I just have to tell you about. Something big. Something completely out of the ordinary. Something I’d started to forget even existed as a thing that happens.
I was bored.
Seriously, it was awesome. For the first time in like a year, wherein we’ve quit/changed/started jobs, graduated, moved twice, almost bought a house, got haircuts, etc. etc. this was a pretty big deal. I got to actually choose what I wanted to do with my day. I could watch crappy TV. I could do my entire yoga video. I could call the bestie and talk to her for a full hour and a half and not feel like I had to hang up because something else needed to be done. I could play in the snow. I could read a book. I could take a NAP. I could go for a run!
OK so that last part never crossed my mind, BUT STILL. It was magical.
Of course, I spent most of this gifted free time baking in the kitchen — duh (I’m a creature of habit, what can I say?). And out of a few hours of having nothing to do came this beautiful and delicious anadama bread. And it was good. Amen.
There are a gajillion stories out there about how anadama bread came to be, so I won’t get into that. What I will talk about, though, is how you need to find some time to be bored so you can make this bread immediately. It’s unlike any other bread I’ve tasted. It’s a little sweet, but with a deep, dark molasses-y backnote. It’s super soft and perfect for sandwiches or as a side to soup, but it’s also made for the best breakfasts ever this week as toast with a little butter and jam on it. Oh, oh, oh! And it freezes exceptionally well, so you can make both loaves and keep one for yourself and give another away as a gift. So that’s pretty exciting.
And yes, this bread does take a little bit longer to rise than normal — which means you should try to be bored for a whole afternoon. I know I hope to be again very soon.
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
Yields: 2 sandwich loaves
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups water
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups bread flour
Pour cornmeal into a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Bring 2 cups water to a boil, then pour over cornmeal, stirring vigorously until no lumps remain. Let sit 30 minutes.
Add molasses, butter and salt to cornmeal mixture; stir until butter is (mostly) melted. In a separate small bowl, whisk together warm water and yeast; let sit 5-10 minutes or until foamy.
Pour yeast mixture into bowl; stir to combine. Add flour, one cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Stir until a shaggy dough forms (it will be stickier than normal). Divide dough evenly between 2 lightly greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pans, spreading dough to corners as best as you can. Cover pans with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When dough is doubled, remove plastic wrap and bake loaves until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes in pans; then, remove loaves from pans and cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
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