Please welcome my guest post from Melissa Abbott, writer of Gloucester Gourmet, and my step-mom! She cultivated a great collection of recipes from her the women  in her family and created The Legacy of Three Melissas, Authentic and Original Cape Ann Recipes cookbook.  The Anadama Bread is part of the wonderful collection of historical recipes.

Anadama Bread

One of my earliest memories was of the grand opening of the new large Anadama Bread factory in Rockport, MA. The year was 1956 and the bakery was located on Pooles Lane behind the Railroad Station. I was about 2 1/2, it was a cold January day, everyone was dressed up and because of my age, everyone seemed very tall to me. Everyone stood around large white machines, ovens, convertor belts, wrapping machines watching Anadama Bread being made. My grandmother, Melissa C. Smith was in a wonderful suit with a huge corsage. The smells and memories of that opening day have never left me. There were huge vats of dark molasses and steamed corn meal mush on one side of the building and an enormous oven in the center. The story of Anadama Bread was on every loaf of bread along with the signatures of my grandparents, Bill and Melissa Smith. Below is exactly what it said. In my book, “The Legacy of Three Melissas, Authentic and Original Cape Ann Recipes”, I have photos of the bread in wrappers as well as bakery photos. 

The Real and Authentic Story of Anadama Bread
from Rockport, MA

This is “truly” a bit of Rockport, Massachusetts, 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 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. 

Videos of Authentic Preparation and Recipe Below
or complete history, photos, recipes for Anadama Bread available in my book
Anadama Bread

Anadama Bread on
1st Rising

Authentic Anadama Bread Recipe

1/2 cup course cornmeal
2 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup organic blackstrap molasses (buy it in a health food store)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 package or 1 Tbsp. dry active yeast dissolved in 1/8 cup warm water
5 cups unbleached flour

Using a double boiler, boil some water in bottom section (see video) and put 2 cups hot water in the top part of double boiler, when hot whisk in cornmeal a little at a time with wire whisk. Add 1/2 cup molasses, 2 Tbsps. butter, and 1 tsp. sea salt. Cook on low in double boiler for at least an hour. You may let it sit overnight for even better texture and flavor. I talk about why in my You Tube tutorial, which gives you a complete overview of the process.  Cool cornmeal and molasses mixture to luke warm. Combine cornmeal/molasses mixture with 5 cups of unbleached flour and softened yeast. Knead until completely combined and stays in a ball. You can do this in a mixer with a dough hook, food processor, or by hand in a bowl. Place dough in greased bowl and let rise 60 minutes in warm place covered by plastic wrap or damp cloth. When double in bulk, knead again on floured surface for a few minutes and then form into 2 loaves. I go over the best way to form them in the video. Place loaves in greased heavy bread pans, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 more minutes. When double in bulk preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake loaves for 45min -1 hour. Check to make sure oven isn’t too hot, if they start to brown quickly, turn down oven to 375 degrees. Depending on your oven, they may be done earlier so start checking them at 40 minutes. 

It has been my pleasure to share this bit of Cape Ann history with you. I hope you bake this with love and enjoy it in your home. I would love to hear your experiences! Happy Baking!

I’m sharing this with Green Your Way and Tip Junkie.

2 loaves just out of the oven!
2 replies
  1. Anonymous says:

    My husband loves to make this bread and will appreciate this recipe. He woudl make it for all the family gatherings pre us having kids. Maybe this will spark his desire to make ti again! Thanks for sharing.

    Jodi R.

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