Friday, August 05, 2011

Poor Old Anna

After researching Anadama Bread recipes, the only constants through them are 1. the name of the alleged mistreating wife 2. the use of molasses instead of sugar or honey and 3. a portion of corn meal. We can't be sure whether the aggrieved husband was a farmer, sailor, or woodsman. I did find the flavor of molasses in bread to be an intriguing note that easily slips in under whole wheat or rye. Indeed, molasses is often used in rye breads to lend color to the loaf.

My bench work at developing a reliable formula for a Pioneer Bread or Sourdough Pioneer Bread made me ponder if the Pioneer Bread was just a baker using ingredients at hand, substituting vegetable oil for butter and sugar for molasses. It doesn't matter too much because both are hearty breads. Both stand up well in sandwiches with some kind of pork or beef.

This particular loaf was done with a sourdough starter. It can just as as easily be done with IDY or ADY. Whatever the choice of leaven, I found that an overnight proofing contributed to a more complex flavor. Here's the brief rundown on what happened to make this loaf.

20 g rye flour
60 g AP flour
56 g water at 85F
30 g seed starter of 80% hydration.

Soaker # 1
90 g whole wheat
60 g water at room temp

Soaker # 2
70 g corn meal (yellow corn meal is suggested)
46 g water at room temp

All of starter
Both soakers
240 g bread flour
160 g water at 85F
9 g kosher salt
30 g unsulphured molasses
30 g melted butter

Presently, I don't have this all knocked out into an ODF or .pdf file but the procedures weren't anything out of the ordinary for a loaf I made using a mixer. I will have the file ready for emailing or attaching sometime after 9 August. My bread baking brain is presently engaged with thoughts of getting my entries into the County Fair on Tuesday morning.
This bread is a good bread. The dough turned out to be relatively easy to shape, slash, and transfer to the baking stone without trauma. The crumb isn't particularly open but still is tender and has the molasses under note in the flavor. I think it would work well in something like a pulled pork sandwich with some Gates BBQ sauce. KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce uses a molasses base so that's another choice. Ham and Swiss cheese with a Dijon mustard is another sandwich to try. It's not bad with a little bit of butter and a cup of coffee in the morning. 

In order to get psyched up for the bread competition at the County Fair, I'm building my starter up fresh and not refrigerating it. I'm hoping that keeping it on the counter will help build up the beneficial bacteria counts that will give my breads a more memorable flavor. Instead of discarding tomorrow, I plan on baking a loaf for an elderly couple that know how to please my ego by describing my bread as old fashioned in style. I don't have a clue as to what kind of bread they really ate in the 1920s and 1930s but it does get them a couple of free loaves a year just for the compliment. By Sunday, I'll have enough fresh starter for two loaves and the leftovers can be dried to give away and use as a back up.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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