Monday, January 11, 2010

Anadama Bread: Baking Through The Bread Baker's Apprentice

I love baking. I love bread. There is nothing quite like kneading together the perfect dough, caring for it during the fermentations, anticipating its flavour as the house fills with the smell of baking bread, then finally cutting into the finished loaf and enjoying a still warm slice of perfection. Perhaps it's because Vegan Mom and I just watched Julie and Julia, but I have decided to bake through Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice (not even an original idea, as it turns out). I have made several breads from this book, and have made no secret of the fact that I totally love it, so I am going to make them all. I will veganize when necessary, but I have no plans to alter the recipes in any other way. I will do a quick post about each bread for anyone interested.

The first bread is Anadama Bread: a loaf made of cornmeal (polenta), flour, and molasses of New England origin. The bread takes 2 days to make, with the first 24 hours taken up soaking the polenta in water to help release the natural sugars during baking. Reinhart made a note that his recipe testers preferred a light molasses so the flavour did not overpower the final loaf. I just used the molasses I had on hand, the same stuff I use for gingerbread, and did not notice any adverse flavour. The end result was amazing--a soft and light loaf with a bit of texture from the polenta. I found 40 mins of baking to be just right. We enjoyed a slice soon after baking with a bit of margarine, and then I made some classic PB and J sandwiches for lunch the next day.