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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Everyday Bread #66: Entire Wheat and Cornmeal Anadama Bread

Anadama, Take 2: Entire Wheat and Cornmeal Bread

This is the second attempt at making a 100% Whole Wheat version of an Anadama loaf.  The first time I had some interesting failures: two rather flat loaves, and one that wouldn't rise at all.  This time had its own set of failures.  The curse of the Anadama loaf lives on!

When I awoke this afternoon, in preparation for working nights, I decided to perform another Anadama experiment.  You see, on the heels of yesterday's Anadama failure, I started looking at other Anadama recipes, suspecting already two things: (a) my first whole wheat Anadama dough was not hydrated enough, and (b) I had miscalculated when converting Beard's yeast ( i.e. I didn't have enough of it).

Remembering that one of the web sites I had linked to earlier had an Anadama Recipe from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I had a look at that book.  Now the Fannie Farmer cookbook is a good one.  Our household is on its second copy (our first copy was a paperback version, and it fell apart through overuse).  The book we now own is a hardcover, a 13th edition, an updated version.

Turning to the Fannie Farmer Anadama recipe, I was also attracted to another bread on the page, the "Entire Wheat" bread.  This is a much better term, I think, than "Whole Wheat" bread, since that terminology is overused now by those who put merely a little bit of "whole wheat" in with their all purpose or bread flour, and call it a whole wheat bread when in fact, it is only 20%, or 40% or 60% whole wheat.  I think it is misleading, and even false advertising.

In my recently awakened daze, I sipped some tea and thought to myself how very close these two recipes are to each other, in terms of ingredients.  The Anadama loaf is made with 4 1/2 cups of white flour, and 1/2 cup of cornmeal, while the Entire Wheat loaf is made with 4 1/3 cups of whole wheat flour.  They both use molasses, salt, and yeast.  The Entire wheat loaf uses milk for hydration, and the Anadama uses some butter for enrichment. But other than those few small differences, they are pretty much the same.

I noted that Fannie Farmer advises using 1 pkg of dry yeast for both loaves, and the book elsewhere says that this is equivalent to a "scant" Tablespoon.

So as I sipped my tea I combined the two recipes, to make an Entire Wheat and cornmeal Anadama bread.

I weighed each of the ingredients, and later I figured out the baker's percentages to build this table. As usual, the recipe book just gives cup and spoon measurements, so your mileage may vary.  Percentages are rounded.


Ingredient Anadama wt Anadama % Entire Wheat wt Entire Wheat % What I used
Cornmeal 77 g 12% -- -- 77 g
Water/Milk 480 g + 112 g
89% 480 g + 56 g
83% 480 g + 56 g
Molasses 155 g 23% 99 g 15% 155 g
Salt 6 g
1% 4 g
1% 5g
Yeast 12 g 2% 12 g 2% 12 g
Butter 15 g -2% -- -- --
Flour 666 g
100% 647 g
100% 666 g
Dried Mustard -- -- -- -- 1 g
1 tsp

Pixie Dust: 1/4 cup each of cornmeal and whole wheat flour mixed together, but not incorporated into the dough.

If you say that the molasses is part of the hydration (and I'm not sure you can actually do that),
  • Fannie Farmer's Anadama bread is 112% hydrated, 
  • the FF Entire Wheat bread is 98% hydrated, 
  • and the combo bread I made is 103% hydrated.  

Where I was able to, I compromised between the given amounts in the 2 recipes, to make up the amounts I used.

I never intended to knead this wet dough.  My intention was to make it as a quick bread, as Fannie Farmer calls it (or as one might put it using more recent parlance, as an enriched no-knead bread).

Boiling Water added to cornmeal

Yeast hydrated in warm water and molasses

Salt into 100% whole wheat flour

Mix 1/4 c each cornmeal and whole wheat ("Pixie Dust")
for dusting the surface of the couche and dough

Dusting the couche with Pixie Dust

Shh!  Secret ingredient!

Yeast and molasses mixture added to cooling cornmeal

Cornmeal mixture added to flour mixture

Stir until you can't: and then knead...

...until everything is incorporated.

Place it on a liberally dusted couche, and sprinkle the top with more Pixie Dust

In 45 minutes, it has risen to double


I boiled 2 cups of water and poured it over the cornmeal and let it sit to cool for 30 minutes, stirring until there were no lumps.  Then I stirred the yeast into 1/4 cup of warm water (56 g, microwaved 30 seconds) and poured the molasses into the moist yeast mixture.  I let both of these mixtures sit for 30 minutes; the last 5 of which (after I tested the cornmeal mixture and found it to be just under 100 degrees F.) I added the yeast mixture to the cornmeal mixture and stirred it all up.

I added the salt and my 'secret ingredient', dry mustard to the flour.  Why dry mustard?  I was hoping that it would give me a little colour.  You see, the day before, Beard's Anadama bread had an interesting yellow cast to it when using cornmeal and all purpose flour.  But the colour got lost when I used the whole wheat.  I was hoping that by using some mustard, I might get a bit more colour to this whole wheat loaf.  That amount was not enough, it had no effect on the colour (or taste), therefore I could have used more.

I then mixed the yeast-cornmeal mixture together until my spoon had trouble.  At that point I turned it out on the cupboard and kneaded until I had everything incorporated.  The dough remained very sticky.  I used wet hands.

I prepared a cloth with part of a mixture I made up of 1/4 cup each of cornmeal and whole wheat flour, and put my boule of dough on the cloth.  I sprinkled the top of it with the rest of the cornmeal and whole wheat mix (what I call 'Pixie Dust'), and I set the cloth aside to rise for 45 minutes (This was far too much flour and meal to use for the crust, by the way; I had to get the vacuum cleaner to sweep up the messy cornmeal and flour mixture that flew everywhere later when transferring my dough to the pot).

The last 15 minutes of the rise, I preheated the oven to 475 degrees F. with a small casserole dish in the oven.  I was using Lahey-like methods, including oven temperature.  I didn't have time this afternoon to mess around with trialing a compromise between the two oven temperatures of the two Fannie Farmer recipes.

The Failure:

I had preheated a small casserole dish, because frankly I didn't expect the dough to rise all that much in the allotted time, after yesterday's fiasco.  But I was wrong.  I should have used a larger casserole dish, because this dough rose dramatically in 45 minutes, and I had difficulty shoehorning it into my little dish.  Pixie Dust was everywhere.

Pixie Dust was everywhere as I tried to shoehorn the dough into a too-small dish

 The oven spring tossed the lid aside

The resultant misshapen but lofty loaf

The loaf's crumb is a dense entire wheat with cornmeal flavour

I baked it at 475 degrees with the lid on for 20 minutes, then reduced the heat to 350 degrees F. and baked another 20 minutes.

There was also substantial oven spring, and it lifted the lid off the casserole dish several inches. 

That is the failure of this loaf: too much success.

I let the bread cool overnight.

This is a tasty loaf.  I am amazed at how much sweeter the whole wheat loaves taste in side-by-side comparison with the first two Anadama loaves I made with all-purpose flour.  This loaf is a little furry.  It is not yellow, though, so I probably could have used more dry mustard or some other spice.  There is no molasses taste, but certainly some of the sweetness must come from that.

I'm pretty happy with this loaf, but I'm also sure it can still be improved.  Putting it in a big enough oven-proof dish to bake is one way.

Notes to Myself
  • This dough had great oven spring.  Why did the yeast get to work so quickly this time, and not at all in the previous whole wheat Anadama attempt?  I suspect it was not only the higher hydration of the entire dough, but the fact that the yeast sat in its molasses-rich water for almost 30 minutes, waking up and starting to feed.  As soon as it hit the warm cornmeal solution, it was completely energized; and when it hit the whole wheat flour, it was like Rocky Balboa at the top of the stairs singing 'Gonna Fly Now'.  It was ready.  It only asked for a shot at the title.
  • Obvious: you should have used a larger casserole dish.  Almost did.  Didn't think I'd need it.
  • You could have put more mustard in.
  • What other spices might you try?  I was thinking turmeric. Maybe even Paprika, for colour.  Or spice it up with some Cayenne, perhaps.  What is in Pumpkin Pie spice?  Maybe that would go good in this bread.  Worth a try.
  • Would this have been improved with either the hot milk or the butter?
  • This doesn't require quite as much 'Pixie Dust'.  Perhaps cut it back to 1/8th of a cup of each of whole wheat flour and cornmeal.  Or use something else -- like cornmeal and bran, or cornmeal on its own.

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