The things we do for love ... Silent Bob has a love for a good freshly baked bread. His mom baked bread when he was a kid and when we were in Germany those food memories were reawakened, after a long time eating store-bought bread and an occasional home-baked loaf . The Backstube where we bought our bread did phenomenal things with yeast doughs! Since moving back to the States, there has been the challenge of baking our own or finding good local backeries to satisfy his lust for the crust.
Confession time: I have never been a great bread baker. It's not for lack of trying, but those fancy loaves just don't come together for me! I keep it very simple when I do bake bread - herb bread, that walnut fouace I made a few weeks ago, simple bisquits and yeast rolls. I was really excited when I found this recipe for Anadama bread right after SB and I were married. It's been an old stand-by over the years. Very moist, a nice dark brown loaf of bread with not too much 'sponginess'. SB will slice it up for toast and jam, but it will also be the base for some chicken salad sandwiches that I'll be making up with some leftover roast chicken ... SB will like that.
You see, he has been away for the past ten days doing a long-distance bicycling trip with my brother. They have had less than stellar weather conditions for part of that time ... very wet and windy. Thankfully, there have been Good Samaritans along the way that offered their homes and yards for safe camping spots, hot meals and the occasional hot shower. It's been an excellent adventure for the guys, but I just know SB will be ready for a warm fire and some super food when he hauls his tired butt through the back door. It will be good to have him home ... safe and sound!
So... I'll bake that bread so he can make toast and cook up a few of his favorites in the next few days! The things we do for love...
Oven: 375° F for 40 minutes
In a large bowl, whisk:
3 c. unbleached flour
2 packets active dried yeast (4 ½ tsp)
In a saucepan, boil:
2 c. water
Add to the boiling water:
½ c. yellow cornmeal
½ c. dark molasses
1/3 c. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. kosher salt
Stir well and cool to lukewarm.
Add the cooled cornmeal mix to the flour/yeast mix and stir well.
Beat in (one at a time):
2 ½ to 2 ¾ c. unbleached flour and turn onto a cool board to knead.
Knead about 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let it rest.
Butter a large clean bowl and turn the dough in , rolling it to coat it with butter. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 ½ hours or until doubled in volume.
Punch it down, divide the dough into two, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Shape the loaves, roll in oats or flaxseed, and place in greased loaf pans.
Cover and let rise until doubled … about 45 minutes.
Brush with melted butter and sprinkle the tops with a bit more old-fashioned oats or flaxseed.
Bake, covering the tops of the loaves when they have browned nicely ( a loose foil topping saves the loaves from being over-browned).
Bread is perfectly baked when loaves sound hollow when tapped (about 45 minutes).
Remove and cool five minutes in the pan. Remove from the pans and cool completely on racks before slicing.