May 13, 2009

The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge: Anadama Bread

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crunchy and chewy, excellent with just butter or Meyer lemon curd

I joined a baking group, The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge created by Pinch My Salt. The group will attempt to bake all the recipes in Peter Reinhart's cookbook, from the first one to the last, arranged alphabetically. I have been a fan of Peter Reinhart after reading and baking several recipes from THE BREAD BAKER'S APPRENTICE and learned a ton from it. I recommend this book to anyone who is just starting to bake breads or has been baking and wants to learn some more. The recipes are easy to follow and there are a lot of pictures to guide the home baker. I love all the breads I made from this book and as a result I volunteered as a recipe tester for his new book Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday to be published in the fall of 2009. I had a lot of fun baking and eating all the different breads I baked (and still baking) as a recipe tester specially the croissants and I'm eagerly anticipating the issue of his book. While waiting for it to come out, the BBA Challenge will keep me occupied and happily baking for the next 40+ weeks. Thanks to Pinch My Salt for this brilliant idea.

The challenge starts off this week with Anadama Bread which is in almost all of my baking books but somehow I have never tried making it, I'm not sure why. It's a shame because this bread turns out flavorful, chewy, and has a crunchy bite that I like. The bread is good by itself, toasted or untoasted, or with butter. I do believe soaking the cornmeal makes a big difference in its taste and texture. I'm surprised that I like this bread because I am not a big fan of molasses. The taste of the molasses, I used a light colored one, is subtle and does not overpower the overall flavor of this pleasantly sweetish bread. And the aroma in my kitchen while the bread was baking was just wonderful.

I followed the recipe as written although I halved it because I thought no one in my house will like it. The dough performed exactly as the book says. When I saw that the bread was rising taller than expected I got worried it will have large air pockets but thankfully the bread came out fine. My only regret is I did not bake the full recipe. I wouldn't mind baking Anadama bread again.

Anadama Bread
the bread had an oven spring of almost 1½ inches

Anadama Bread
I love its rich golden brown crust, very crisp and crunchy when toasted

Now, let's have some fun and rate the recipe/bread from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest:

flavor 4
texture 5
visual appeal 5
ease of preparation 5
performance 5
worth 4
Total: 28
Average: 4.66


Joy said...

Beautiful bread! Thank you so much for posting the recipe. I'll give this a try. :)

Susie said...

Wow, you got the best rise of all I have seen so far. Awesome looking loaf. I'll be following your blog to see how you do with the rest. :)

What's Cookin Chicago said...

Beautiful job!! I plan on making my loaf this weekend!

Pete Eatemall said...

Makes me want to make the Anadama Recipe agsain! Looks great!

Sidney said...

Wow! What a challenge !
That bread looks picture perfect and probably taste the same way !

Is that you on the front cover? ;-)

Allison said...

I made the anadama twice (I always try to bake a formula twice to see if I can improve on anything). Your bread looks great! I remember being surprised by the oven spring- it happened almost immediately upon placing the pan in the oven. Thanks for the great photos.

Jude said...

I like the rating system. I had also signed up as a recipe tester for his new book but I couldn't keep up.

Tammy said...

Wow! Your bread is awesome! What a great idea to use parchment paper... I need to remember that. I had a little trouble getting my bread out of the pan.

Sean said...

Wow, you really got some good oven spring. Looks like it turned out really good. Mine did not have much oven spring, but it still turned out good.

Oggi said...

Joy, thanks.

Susie1955, I already baked the greek bread and will post about it next week...2 of the photos are in flickr.:)

Joelen, thanks. I'll look for it in your blog.

Peteeatemall, thanks.

Sidney, she's too young to be me, heheh.

Allison, I'll probably bake it again in a few days.

Jude, I didn't bake all the recipes as a tester, I missed about 3 of them. I love the croissants which used to intimidate me. After 2 successful batches I'm convinced Peter's recipe is the best and easiest to follow.

Tammy, thanks. I always use parchment for loaf breads because my pan is deeper at 4½ inches and it's difficult to release if the bread gets stuck.:)

Sean, I think this bread will always taste good.:)

Dave Reed said...

That's beautiful. I'm going to have to take a cue from you and take my pics on a white background. I just finished my second batch and we love it around here.

kellypea said...

Very nice job on the anadama -- like your rating system, too. I've been wondering how to record my reactions to all that we'll be baking this year. Thanks for the idea!

Anonymous said...

Looks gorgeous - looking forward to the Artos!

Oggi said...

Dave, thanks. I got the idea from several food bloggers to use a white background and bought 2 white boards.:)

Kellypea, that's also the reason I included the rating in the post instead of putting it in my "bread journal", yes, I have one.:)

HaleySuzanne, thanks and I'll be baking a second batch of Artos (with wild yeast starter) just to compare the flavors.:)

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