Even though I have been baking professionally for 30+ years, I have never baked anadama bread. The classic recipe combines cornmeal in a loaf sweetened by molasses both of which pair nicely with walnuts and sage. Starting with the recipe from Peter Reinhart's book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, I gave it a slightly southern twang by substituting sorghum for the molasses, took it a step further by using Brinsers best roasted yellow cornmeal and then loaded the dough with toasted walnuts and freshly picked sage. The resulting loaves were the perfect foundation for sandwiches, particularly BLT's. —janeofmanytrade
Test Kitchen Notes
Robust and flavorful, this is the sort of loaf that makes winter slide right by. Serve toasted under a heap of sage-flecked scrambled eggs for a breakfast of champions, or thickly slathered with salted butter alongside your favorite vegetable soup for a simple, rustic dinner. Baby, it's cold outside. —mitschlag
2 (9x5x3) loaves
cornmeal (I used roasted yellow cornmeal)
unbleached bread flour
chopped fresh sage, plus more to taste
The night before you will bake the bread, combine the cornmeal and the boiling water in a bowl. Mix completely, cover and allow it to sit out at room temperature until you are ready to mix the dough. Peter reinhart calls this a "soaker"
Add the 2 cups of bread flour, the warm water and the yeast to the soaker and mix completely. Allow this sponge to rise until bubbly, about an hour.
Add the sage, walnuts, sorghum, olive oil and salt to the sponge and stir it together. Add 1 cup of the bread flour and mix to form a shaggy, sticky dough. Place 1 cup of the flour on a clean work surface and turn the dough out on top of the flour. Begin to knead the dough adding additional flour as needed to make a soft, elastic dough, about 10 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it. Allow it to rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch the dough down, divide it in half and shape it into two loaves by flattening the dough into a rectangle and rolling it up so that the cylinder is the same length as the pan. Oil the pans, place the loaves into the pans and brush the tops of the dough with a small amount of oil and allow them to rise so that they come just above the top of the pans.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake the loaves until brown and sound hollow when you turn the loaf out and tap the bottom, about 45 minutes. Be sure to turn the loaves half way and to ensure doneness, use a thermometer to check the internal temperature; 185-195 is the desired range. Turn out of the pans and allow to cool on a rack completely before slicing.