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Anadama Bread

by in Mar 2010
Anadama Bread
9 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (79% score)
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Total Time: 30

There are loads of stories about how Anadama Bread got its name and where it originated. Most people agree it's either Rockport or Gloucester, Massachusetts, and that the name is a derivative of "Anna, damn her." Some say Anna was the "lazy" wife of a fisherman (as if a fisherman's wife could be lazy), who simply mixed molasses and cornmeal together for her husband's meals. One day, sick of the mush, he added flour and yeast, baked it, and created a new concoction. Others say the name comes from a woman who was a gifted baker, and when she passed away, her gravestone read, "Anna was a lovely bride, but Anna, damn 'er, up and died." Either way, this is the most New England of breads, and popular for good reason--it's rich and faintly sweet, terrific for breakfast toast and sandwiches. Try smearing a mixture of butter and honey on it, and you'll be hooked. This is my friend and mentor Jasper White's recipe. He uses a bit more cornmeal and less molasses than most, so this version can serve a dual role as both breakfast bread and accompaniment to hearty chowders. "It really is a New England staple," he says. "I've always loved its rich flavor and interesting texture. I'm with Annie--I like it for breakfast, toasted, with a bit of butter and jam."

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Anadama Bread
Photo/Art by Heath Robbins


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups (approx.) warm water (105-115 degrees), divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons dark molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3-1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • Vegetable oil or butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water (egg wash)


In a medium-size bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer with hook attachment), combine yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup warm water; mix well. Add melted butter, molasses, salt, flour, and cornmeal. Slowly add up to 1 cup more warm water; mix to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. Add more water if necessary. Knead by machine about 10 minutes, or by hand about 15 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Oil (or butter) a large bowl lightly. Shape dough into a ball and place in the bowl; turn it once so it's lightly greased all over. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and place in a warm, draft-free spot. Let dough rise until volume doubles, about 1 hour.

Grease two 9-1/2x5-inch loaf pans. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut in half and shape each half into a loaf. Place each loaf in a pan, return to a warm spot, and let rise until volume doubles, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the loaves with egg wash and bake 1 hour, or until deep golden brown. To test for doneness, remove one hot loaf from its pan and tap the bottom of the bread; you'll hear a hollow sound if it's done. If it's not done, return it to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. When loaves are done, turn them out of their pans and cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes.

Yield: 2 loaves

Adapted from 50 Chowders: One-Pot Meals--Clam, Corn & Beyond by Jasper White; Scribner, 2000; $30

Updated Friday, February 19th, 2010

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2 Responses to Anadama Bread

  1. Daryle Thomas April 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

    For some reason, Yankee recipes NEVER print properly or completely. Entire sections are skipped during the printing process.

    Got any ideas as to why?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. amyo April 27, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    Hello Daryle, We have tested the print button on the web page and there does not seem to be anything missing. Could you please email our tech support team with more information What specifically is missing from the recipe and what type of web browser are you using? Thank you!

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