Anadama Bread

In many ancient cultures, the late summer marked the first harvest, and was often celebrated with festivities involving grain–and especially corn. So, in keeping with that tradition, making this delicious bread has become one of my personal summertime rituals.

Strange Name, Delicious Bread

And about the name…kind of strange, right? I’ve heard slightly different versions of its origin, but the basic story goes something like this:

Many years ago, there was a hardworking fisherman. Every day he went out on his boat and stayed for hours, trying to get the biggest catch he could. And every night, when he finally dragged himself back to his modest cottage, he was famished. Unfortunately, his wife Anna was very lazy and often there was no dinner waiting for him.

One day, he came home and not only was there no dinner, but the remains of the corn porridge he’d had for breakfast were still sitting on the table and his wife was nowhere to be found.

“Anna, damn her!” exclaimed the exasperated fisherman as he poured the porridge in a pan and put it in the oven.

And this wonderful bread was the result…

Don’t use a bread machine for this one! The sweet, fragrant dough is a joy to work with. Enjoy the process!


1/2 cup water

1/4 cup cornmeal

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup molasses

1 packet active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)

3 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 teaspoon salt


  1. Put 1/2 cup of water and the cornmeal in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and molasses. Let cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Let sit until creamy; about 10 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal mixture with the yeast mixture and stir until well blended. Add the salt and 2 cups of flour; mix well. Continue adding flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until it is all incorporated. At some point, you will need to switch from stirring with a spoon to working the flour in with your hands. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a loaf and put it into a lightly greased 9″x5″ loaf pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

If you enjoy the flavors in this bread, you may also want to try Indian Pudding, a traditional New England dessert. I first tasted it in Concord when we were there with our Art and Literature tour. The Colonial Inn makes a particularly great version (but it isn’t difficult to make at home, either.)



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  1. stevie mack says:

    Kitty, The bread looks delicious and I love the story! A great story always makes things taste better. I hope all of your readers will head to the kitchen and bake a loaf. I am sure they will be shocked to hear that I have not had the opportunity to taste your wonderful bread because you have not shared it at work. The problem is that I have been bragging to them over the last few months about how lucky I am to work at CRIZMAC because I have the priviledge of tasting your delicious treats. I know you don’t want to make a liar out of me! I can hardly wait until tomorrow when the coffee is brewed and the bread is warm.

    Kitty Williams Reply:

    Okay Stevie. I brought the bread. Let me know what you think!


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