Make Ahead

Walnut-Sage Anadama Bread

January  5, 2012
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 2 (9x5x3) loaves
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup cornmeal (I used roasted yellow cornmeal)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup sorghum or molasses
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups unbleached bread flour
  1. 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"
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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11 Reviews

Lynnsy October 11, 2017
Delicious, moist, tender crumb and just the right amount of molasses. I wanted to try the bread on its own so baked this first batch without the sage and walnuts-- like it very much as is.

A few things; I only had 2 cups of bread flour, so I mixed it with all-purpose ( both King Arthur) and it developed adequate gluten for a decent rise using the stand mixer. I used stone ground cornmeal which is somewhat coarse (Bob's Red Mill Stone Ground) , maybe a bit too coarse? Although the interior of the loaves is very tender, there are a fair number of hard cornmeal grains on the lower and side crusts--I did not dust the pans with cornmeal so they were in the dough. Next time I will either used a finer grind meal or maybe add a dash more water to the soaker on bake day and zap it in the microwave to soften it up a bit. I will also use smaller pans to get a higher dome, as this is a small recipe for 2 9x5 pans. Perhaps it would give a higher loaf with all bread flour, but the texture is moist and a little stretchy with half and half, just the way we like it.

Thanks for the excellent recipe!
Sophie V. October 18, 2015
At what point do you add the bread flour?
2. add the 2 cups of bread flour...
3. 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...
or does it take 2 cups twice?
Kate F. July 30, 2015
I used to work for a baker (30 years ago) that made Anadama bread. Best bread for sandwiches, toast. Delicious.
CECILIA June 23, 2014
could i use spelf flour or quinoa flour instead of unbleashed bread flour?
CECILIA June 23, 2014
Mimiskitchen January 28, 2013
Makes excellent grilled cheese
DeWitt W. January 30, 2012
I just tried this recipe and, although the texture and overall taste of the two loaves was rather good, I was terribly disappointed that the sage flavor didn't come through. I chopped the sage rather coarsely and I put in twice as much as called for. Even then, unless I bit down on a piece of the sage itself, I couldn't taste it. I've had similar results with other recipes which call for fresh sage. What's gong on? My other taste tester here, Janet, was also disappointed in the almost total lack of sage flavor. And yet, the fresh sage I bought smelled marvelous.
jtrueblood January 23, 2012
What exactly is roasted cornmeal? Something you buy, something you roast yourself? If DIY, how does one roast it?
ruzyreez January 25, 2012
i was wondering the exact same question! someone help us! i so wanna try this recipe but i'm not sure what roasted cornmeal is :P
janeofmanytrade January 28, 2012
roasted cornmeal is a product from haldeman mills of pennsylvania. it is sold as brinser's best cornmeal and it is basically toasted yellow cornmeal. it gives it a little color and a deeper flavor. the good news is that it isn't hard to find if you shop online and if you have stores near you that carry a large assortment of amish goods-that is a good place to look too. however, you could use any kind of cornmeal to make this-white, yellow, blue or red(as long as it is natural red cornmeal; the dyed stuff would give the loaf an odd color). you could also toast your own in the oven or in a skillet on the stove just as you would toast nuts.
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 5, 2012
Bread looks amazing; with a BLT, yes or chicken salad. Decadent sandwich bread.