Here I go again, joining another baking group. Natalie, of a Pinch My Salt decided to bake her way through Peter Reinhart’s classic, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, and about 200 of us around the world decided to join her. First up: Anadama Bread, to which I say, “where have you been all my life?” This, folks, is the answer to the fluffy homemade loaf that I’ve sought from time to time, even though I usually go for dense, artisinal breads. This bread is easy to make, shape, and eat, particularly toasted, with some butter and homemade marmalade. Yum.
I halved the recipe, and found myself wishing that I had made both loaves. I used Gold Medal Bread flour, King Arthur Organic Cornmeal, and Grandma’s Unsulphured Molasses. I also discovered that the freezer is, indeed, a time capsule: I found a five or six year old unopened foil bag of SAF yeast (this was from a time before I bought my yeast in bulk), and decided to live dangerously and use it. If it didn’t work, I figured I’d tweak things.
Well, it worked all right. The thing was ALIVE I tell you, and because I’ve been baking bread almost exclusively with some lazy sourdough starters, some of my breads have taken up to 17 hours to rise. This one had no such problem. In fact, my entire experience with this bread brings to mind another classic: this scene from Young Frankenstein, one of The Greatest Movies Ever Made. I’ll wait while you take a look at this short clip. You won’t regret it, I promise. “WOOF!”
I also baked it in an 8×4-inch pan instead of a 9×5-inch pan, resulting in a dramatic rise. Sort of like the muffin top you get when you put on a pair of too-tight jeans.
This is a great loaf of bread for beginners and experienced bakers alike. You can find a list of those participating, here, and you can find the recipe on-line, here. I highly recommend you get this classic book for your baking library. Until next week, when we bake Greek Celebration Bread! And please check out Susan’s roundup every Friday of all things wonderful made with yeast: Yeastspotting.