Yes, I will admit that the thought of baking bread strikes fear in my heart. It’s not that I hate bread! Bread and I are very good friends, but I've never had any luck when I've tried to make it myself. While this means job security for my neighbourhood baker, I have always wanted to, at least once, make a successful loaf of bread. Especially the thought of working with yeast has been so scary for me. Whenever I read a recipe and saw that yeast was involved, I just tossed the recipe aside and thought I didn't have any time for such craziness.
Last Friday when I was noting down my weekend cooking, the cracked thought of making bread for the coming week. On my own, and not from the bakery or supermarket. So, I began searching my pinterest collection, which I call my research library, and I finally was able to find a recipe that I could work with. I used this specifically for the fact that dates were being used in it, and I was trying to finish off a packet which I was given by my friend during Ramadan. This recipe requires a bit of planning but is extremely simple and I promise you, if I can make this you can too!
Anadama bread is a traditional yeast bread of New England in the United States made with wheat flour, cornmeal, molasses and sometimes rye flour. I haven't used molasses and instead dates the use of which brought such nutty and earthy flavour to this bread, which I loved to the core. I did think it was a lot better when toasted, I mean, it is a “toasting bread” If you have "yeast anxiety" like I used to have, I suggest you give this a try.
I had it with the Bonne Maman Lemon marmalade, which we got as a sample from a Media event in London. Honestly, I have never been a fan of marmalades due to their natural “bitter-ish” flavour. But this one was different. The flavours were blended very well in the jar, and there was not too much sugar in it. I absolutely hate it when brands pour in the sugar to make marmalades sweeter than required. So this was a plus in this case. They have this full range of desserts and conserves, which I am looking forward to try now. The generous spread on this toasted Dates bread proved to be an amazing Sunday breakfast, with a mug of Mocha coffee aside. Very indulgent and filling too, may be coz of dates and polenta. Just two slices and I was full till 2 o' clock.
The process of making this bread seems very lengthy and painstaking, and I know that. But the beauty of this bread is that it can be planned ahead of time. I started in the morning and had it ready by noon, so we had it for lunch that day with roasted garlic and eggplant soup and then the next day with this yummy Bonne Mamon marmalade. You may also plan it for overnight proofing. Just do the last step before sleeping and bake it first thing in the morning and you will have a wonderful warm loaf ready for breakfast
Recipe source: Priya's easy and tasty recipes
Makes: 2 medium size bread loafs
What you need?
- 1 cup Yellow cornmeal
- ¾ cup Thick Dates sauce ( **process explained below )
- 100 gms Butter + 1tsp Melted butter (for brushing)
- 1 ¼ tbsp Active dry yeast
- 2cups Wheat flour
- 2cups All purpose flour
- 1/4cup Non fat milk powder
- 1tsp Salt
How to make?
To make Dates Sauce: Take a cup of chopped dates with half a cup of milk and cook in low medium flame,(add water if needed). Simmer until the dates gets well cooked, will take around 5-7 minutes. Turn off the flame and let it cool for 20-30 minutes. Blend as a thick paste and keep aside.
Take cornmeal, a cup of water, dates puree and butter in a pan. Cook on low flame and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble after few minutes. Transfer it to a glass bowl, and let it cool until it comes at room temperature.
Meanwhile sprinkle the yeast over ¼ cup of lukewarm water in a bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes until its turns foamy. Stir it once and let it sit for 2 more minutes.
Take the cornmeal mixture when its cooler to handle, add a cup of APF, milk powder and cover it with a kitchen towel. Keep it at a warm place for an hour, the dough will increase slightly.
Now add the remaining flour, half cup at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. At last the dough will come together as a firm dough. Now comes the tough part… you’re your sleeves up and knead by hand until its forms a smooth pliable dough.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and keep in warm place for 2 hours to proof. Once the dough is almost double in the volume, punch down the dough and transfer to a clean floured surface.
Shape into a smooth 4 by 8 inch loaf and transfer it to a loaf pan, cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and keep it again in a warm place until the loaf rises. This proofing will take around 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375F, remove the wrap, transfer to the oven.. Reduce the temperature to 350F, bake for 35-40 minutes until the bread is golden brown and should sound hallow when tapped.
Brush the top with melted butter and let it sit for 10 minutes. Transfer it into a rack and let cool completely before slicing.
- The above process seems very lengthy and painstaking, I know. But the beauty of this bread is that it can be planned ahead of time. I started in the morning and had it ready by Lunch, so we had it for lunch that day with roasted garlic soup and then the next day with Bonne Mamon marmalade.
- You may plan ahead of time and do the last proofing step before sleeping. Bake it first thing in the morning and you will have a wonderful warm loaf ready for breakfast
- As I said earlier, this was at its best when toasted fresh. I had at least 4 slices just like that with a dash of butter on them and they tasted great
** with thanks to Bonne Maman for the deicious marmalade jar