A loaf of bread tastes best when freshly baked. Whisk it out of the oven, let it cool slightly, then slice off the heel when no one is looking.
The heel is the winning slice of a hot loaf of bread. You get much more of the crisp, golden crust without losing any of the squishy, soft interior.
Growing up, my favorite loaf to eat warm was my mom's anadama bread. Slightly crunchy with cornmeal and barely sweet with molasses, it just begged for a swipe of cold butter from our Jersey cows.
The recipe I'm sharing today, from Land O'Lakes, is the Holy Grail of bread recipes, in my opinion. Not only does it taste reminiscent of anadama bread, but every bite is like getting the warm heel of the loaf.
You'll bake these rolls in a round pan. To eat, just pull them apart gently. Each one has a tender, soft interior and a crisp golden dome of a crust.
The rolls have one more blue-ribbon quality: They're quicker and faster than most breads. Instead of two rises, they only need one. Just mix up the dough, shape the rolls, then let them rise in the pan for about 30 minutes before sliding them into a hot oven.
They are also exceptionally versatile. Bring them to a spring picnic, split them open, and fill them with chicken salad. Or toast them and serve them with jam and butter for breakfast. Slice one, butter it and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and pop it under the broiler for dessert. They're as at home on the Thanksgiving table or an Easter brunch as they would in a brown-bag not sad desk lunch.
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (1 package or 1/4 ounce)
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup medium-ground cornmeal
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour