Anadama Bread – The Authentic Recipe from Rockport, MA
ANADAMA BREAD (comments by Melissa Ann Smith Abbott)
Melissa C. Smith
1/2 c. course cornmeal 2 T. butter 2 c. boiling water 1 tsp. salt 1/2 c. unsulphured blackstrap molasses 1 pkg. dried yeast 5 c. unbleached flour Stir the cornmeal slowly in water the boiling water and let steam over a double boiler for a minimum of one hour. You can make it up and let it sit overnight. Add the butter, molasses, and salt. Cool a bit. When lukewarm, add the yeast dissolved in warm water. Add enough flour to make a stiff bread dough. Knead for 10 minutes and then turn into a greased bowl covered with a damp cloth and let sit for 1 – 11/2 hours until double in bulk. Shape 2 loaves and place in 2 greased bread pans; let rise until double in bulk. Bake in hot 400 degree oven for 1 hour. This is truly a “bit” of Rockport, MA, for Anadama Bread originated in this town many years ago. This is the true story of a local fisherman whose lazy wife always gave him steamed corn meal mush and molasses for dinner. One day when he came in from fishing, he found the same corn meal mush and molasses for dinner and being very tired of it, he decided to mix it with bread flour and yeast and baked it saying, “Anna Damn Her.” The bread was so delicious that his neighbors baked it calling it Anadama Bread. Anadama was first baked by the Smith family at 5 Main Street in Rockport during the 1940’s and then later at a modern bakery built by the railroad station in Rockport, MA. The company went out of business in 1972 dues to the death of William P.C. Smith, Melissa C. Smith’s husband who ran the operation. Many people still bake it but don’t know the real secret to making it extra chewy and deeply molasses sweet. Authentically, unsulphured blackstrap molasses was used and the corn meal mush was allowed to sit overnight and expand with water. This makes a really deep and moist bread that is quite wonderful. Make an effort to go to the health food store and get the old fashioned molasses and you will see what I mean.
Note: Source: The Blacksmith Shop Specialties – How to Prepare and Serve our Famous Dishes – collected by Melissa Collins Smith 1947