The Bread Baker ‘ s Apprentice Challenge: Anadama Bread (Week One)

by Maris Callahan on May 21, 2009


Something that you wouldn’t know about me from reading my blog is that I’m secretly a lover of history. I watch the History Channel and I’m quietly enthralled by antiques – wondering who handled them and what they meant to that person.

I love driving by historic homes that have stood proudly for hundreds of years, thinking about the life of the family who lived within the walls – and how they ever managed without the internet. I like to trace legends and myths as far back as I can trace them – because even the most outlandish tall tales had to result from something or somewhere.

One difference between us today and our predecessors who lived two-hundred years ago is the food we eat. Our ancestors didn’t eat Lean Cuisines for dinner and when they wanted something to eat they made it with the ingredients on hand.


Anadama Bread is a yeast bread that originated in New England years ago, when a Massachusetts fisherman allegedly had a wife named Anna who gave her husband nothing but cornmeal and molasses to eat every day. One night the fisherman got so angry, he tossed the ingredients in with some yeast and flour and made a bread in the oven while muttering to himself, “Anna, damn her!”

I first learned about this bread when I joined the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. Hosted by Nicole at Pinch My Salt, the challenge will entail a group of 200 bloggers baking our way through the Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (he blogs!).

Yes, you’re looking at two zeroes; that is not a typo. And, no, no I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed on to this challenge. Despite the fact that my bread baking experience is limited, I do like me some carbs and hands-on experience is the best teacher.

We’re not posting the recipes to every kind of bread that we bake but similar recipes are available around the internet and if you have any questions about the recipes I’ve used feel free to email me with questions.
I hope you like bread, because there will be more of it to follow in the coming weeks! (And let’s just lay our cards out on the table. You like bread, otherwise I don’t know how you’ve made it through this post).

To tide you over for now, here are some more resources in case you’d like to bake your own Anadama Bread: Bread Baking – Baking Anadama Bread – Bake Anadama Bread
New York Times Dining & Wine – Recipe for Anadama Bread
Wikipedia – Anadama bread

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Culinary Wannabe May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

Honestly, there is nothing better in the world than the smell of fresh baked bread. I keep saying that good ol Glade should make a candle out of it! I’m really enjoying your site, and am glad you stopped by. I love eating outdoors too (although sadly, I don’t think Momofuku has outdoor dinning, or at least haven’t when I’ve been there). We usually scour the UES for any place that isn’t on an overly congested street so that you aren’t inhaling more fumes than food.


mandy May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

God that looks good, I would love a slice right now. Nothing beats a piece of warm bread.


Rachel May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

Great post! Your bread looks very good!


Sophie May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

MMMMM….Maris! your bread looks incredible so tasty looking! Yum!


Pearl May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

maris – your bread looks perfect!


Susie May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

I enjoyed reading through you post.
Great looking bread.
I’ll be following your blog and baking right along with you. :)
Susie in northern NY


maris May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

What an awesome story about poor Anna! I love it!


kat May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

This is going to be quite the challenge, it’ll be fun to see how you do


Matt May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

Honestly, I wouldnt survive without Lean Cuisines.
Life back then must have been awful.


ksgoodeats May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

Homemade bread is one of my simple pleasures! Yours looks fantastic!!


Kate (in the Kitchen) May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

I saw that challenge and thought ‘That’s nuts’
Good for you though. I think about these kinds of challenges and my mouth waters. I am a true carb freak and I LOVE me some good scratch bread!!


elra May 21, 2009 at 3:00 am

WOW, the crumb look amazing. I have the book and I’ll in to it. Sounds really intriguing!


Elyse May 22, 2009 at 3:00 am

Ooo, I love history, too! And I loved hearing about the history of this bread. Your bread turned out fantastically. I love the ingredients that are going on here, too! Fabulous job.


magda May 22, 2009 at 3:00 am

I’m so much the same way with history. The History channel fascinates me, so much so that things like laundry and dishes and chores that I intended to do with the tv “as background” often fall to the side. And historic houses, yes. I live on the outskirts of an old historic district and I LOVE walking through there on the weekends. (I don’t so much love the porsche SUVs and range rovers parked outside; history comes at a steep price, it seems).
Good luck with this challenge! Looks like a lot of fun : )


grace May 22, 2009 at 3:00 am

that’s what i like to call a soft and pillowy loaf of bread, the kind where you rip off huge hunks and just eat away. nicely done!


Jude May 22, 2009 at 3:00 am

Haha nice intro. I can only imagine how difficult it must be back then for people who have less than stellar kitchen skills.


Erin May 22, 2009 at 3:00 am

I feel the same way! I love history and thought about minoring in that, until I realized History classes are all about wars generals. Then I discovered Folk Studies. It was all learning about how people lived, the stories they told, the foods they cooked, and more! Man, I loved that minor! I took a Roots of Southern Culture folk studies course, and we did a segment on Foodways. Your story about Anadama bread sounds like something I’d learn in class!


Aggie May 22, 2009 at 3:00 am

Gosh, that bread looks amazing!


5 Star Foodie May 23, 2009 at 3:00 am

Wow, this bread looks amazing! Thanks for visiting my blog and please keep in touch!


Susan May 23, 2009 at 3:00 am

History and food- I love it. Can’t wait to see how many ways you can make bread!


lisamichele May 23, 2009 at 3:00 am

You know..I have had this book for what seems like forever, yet I’ve only used it maybe twice. After seeing your gorgeous anadema bread, I need to dig into it! Beautiful job!


Catherine May 23, 2009 at 3:00 am

I’ve never heard of anadema…thank you. I have to give this one a try.


Paz May 24, 2009 at 3:00 am

Your bread looks really good!


Jamie May 24, 2009 at 3:00 am

That is some funny story! Brave you taking on this challenge! I bought the book, but couldn’t commit to the time as much as I love baking!
I love history, too. I am fascinated by those old rooms set up in museum wondering who sat in the chairs, or jewelry in museums thinking of who wore it, or old cooking pots and utensils…. Want a fascinating book to read? Waverly Root’s Eating In America! Magnificent and fun book!
Your bread looks great!


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