Monday, May 18, 2009

Bread #1 - Anadama

This is a very exciting day for me; my first post on my first blog, and I am digging it!

This is the first bread in the BBA challenge. (Bread Baker's Apprentice, based on Peter Reinhart's great book. We are baking our way through the book, one recipe at a time, in order, at the rate of approximately one per week.) I made this one, Anadama bread, twice because the first one wasn't what I thought it should be. I used part whole wheat flour that I had ground from wheat berries, and probably did not use enough, because the texture of the finished loaf didn't hold together too well. I had also used Brer Rabbit molasses, which had a pronounced flavor; great for Boston brown bread; not so much for Anadama.

On a whim, I made a second batch, this time using Grandma's molasses, which is lighter, and King Arthur bread flour. What a difference! This time, the crumb was perfect; soft, but held together well.

I had read on our BBA challenge that this bread made the perfect peanut buter and jelly sandwich. Tuesday night, after a particularly exhilirating night of ballroom dancing, I was ravenous, so I tested out the PB & J theory. They were 100% right! It did make the best PB & J I had ever had.

I have been baking bread for 36 years, and I have never made the Anadama. The cornmeal and the molasses turned me off. Not so in this recipe. Peter Reinhart, in all his brilliance, figured out a way to make the cornmeal give a pleasant texture without being gritty or breaking a tooth. The balance of the sweetness from the molasses was just right too.

Bottom line: this one is a winner to be made on an ongoing basis.

I love the idea of baking the breads in order so much that I decided to to the same thing with soup. I love Rachael Ray's soups, and I love soup; making it; eating it. So, about a year ago, I made a chart on my computer of all of her soups from all of her books in order of copyright. The problem was that I kept making the same few over and over again. So now, I am making each soup, in order, to accompany the breads. I started with a mini-meatball (I used ground chicken and ground chicken sausage) soup, which was delicious.

I love this idea so much, that I have now expanded. I have added Rachael's Big Orange Book, to the challenge. Rather than cook each recipe in order, though, I have taken a recipe from each chapter, and will cook those in order. For example, the first recipe in Chapter 1 is for LA Ballpark hot dogs. The first recipe in Chapter 2 is Baba-Ganoush-Hummus Pasta, and so on. I'll follow this order to create a variety. What fun!

So far, I have made the first three soups on the list, and the "Ball Park Hot Dogs," although I used turkey kielbasa instead of hot dogs. Unbelievably good! And definitely something I would never have made just thumbing through the book.

This will definitely get me out of any cooking ruts!


  1. OH MY GOODNESS, what a wonderful blog.
    It is great baking along with you. Your loaf turned out great and how smart to try it twice.
    I love Rachael Ray and I have "ALL" of her books. What a neat idea to do her soups. Actually I like her STOUPS best. :)
    Way to go. I'll be following your blog,

  2. Welcome to blogging! Your loaves look fantastic!

  3. Thanks Susie, and Catherine. And I like RR's stoup best too. In fact, my favorite is the one called "Sausage, Beans, & Broccoli Rabe Stoup." You can get it online at

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