There is a relatively new baking group that I've decided to join - The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge - started by Nicole of Pinch My Salt. The group is baking through Peter Reinhart's book in order - which happens to be alphabetical. Most of the group is posting weekly - I think this is officially the 4th week - though I doubt that I'll be able to do that. I don't plan on sticking to a schedule, just baking as my time allows. The first recipe in the book is for Anadama bread - a traditional New England bread with cornmeal and molasses.
I am not an experienced bread maker - something that I'm trying to remedy. I'm determined to make all of my family's bread from now on, and I think I'm off to a pretty good start!
I started making the anadama before I left for work one morning, and got as far as shaping the loaves. The recipe says the dough can be put in the refrigerator at this point. When you want to bake it, it says to let it sit for 4 hours, or until it rises to the top of the pan. I had my husband put it a couple of hours before I left work, thinking that it would probably be late before it was baked and ready to eat, but when I got home, it was fully proofed. Over proofed, in fact. So the loaves both fell a bit in the oven. They also baked more quickly than the recipe stated - they were done in 30 minutes.
We all loved this bread - my 2 1/2 year old especially. It is a very light bread, slightly sweet, delicious toasted with butter and honey. I'm sure it would make great sandwiches as well, but we haven't tried it yet.
The only change I would make would be to omit the cornmeal on top of the loaf or use a finer one, as mine was very coarse - locally grown and ground organic grits, actually - and hurt the roof of my mouth a little when I chewed it. A minor problem... Other than that it was delicious, and I was rather proud of having made it!
You can find the recipe here.