I LOVE this bread. Have since I first made a version of this as rolls. If you are looking for something a little different this year for Thanksgiving, these are beyond worth a try.
Traditionally made with "regular" molasses, recently I made a batch of molasses from the juice and seeds (the arils) of a REAL Pomegranate. The thick sweet syrup worked great as a drizzle for a New York style cheesecake, but I also had plans for the left over Pomegranate Molasses.
I am in Pomegranate mode right now. Sunday, I am hosting one of the Pom Wonderful parties you will be hearing about. 100 bloggers have been selected, I need to work on something that will stand out.
Like bread made from Pomegranates.
Cooking is a series of steps. So is this bread. First, you can certainly use the bottles of POM WONDERFUL Juice to make your own molasses. But, since Pomegranates are in season right now, why not use the real ones. With no instructions, chances are your kitchen will look like you slaughtered your dog (thanks Biz, loved that comment) when you first try to open your own. But opening a Pomegranate and getting the good stuff out neat and clean is much easier than it sounds (click HERE).
Once you have the seed/juice sacks out (the Arils), making pomegranate molasses is also easy (click HERE).
And once you have Pomegranate Molasses, Anadama bread is next!
This recipe was stolen from MARY at ONE PERFECT BITE. Mary is one of my very favorite bloggers. She gives background stories and histories behind her recipes. For a change, for this bread, Mary missed an opportunity to do a food history lesson... In preparing this post, I did a quick Internet search for the origins of this food.
ANADAMA is a traditional bread of New England made with white flour, cornmeal, molasses and sometimes (not this time) rye. But, there is a legend surrounding the rolls...
From Anadamabread.com/history.php - This is truly a "bit" ofRockport, 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 itAnadama Bread.So, Not willing to ever leave well enough alone, I am going to reprint Mary's recipe for Anadama Rolls, followed by what I did to change them forever to my ANNA DAMN HER Bread wreath...
Here's what she did...
Anadama Rolls...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup warm water
1 envelope (2-1/4 teaspoons)dry yeast
4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten to blend
2 teaspoons sesame or poppy seeds
1) Bring milk, 1 cup water and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook until mixture thickens and boils, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in molasses and 2 tablespoons butter. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Cool until thermometer inserted into center of mixture registers 115°F, whisking often, about 15 minutes.
2) Pour 1/2 cup warm water into small bowl; sprinkle yeast over. Let stand until yeast dissolves and top looks spongy, about 10 minutes. Stir yeast mixture into cornmeal mixture. Gradually mix in 4 cups flour, about 1 cup at a time, to form soft dough that pulls away from sides of bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour onto work surface. Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, sprinkling with more flour by tablespoonfuls if needed, about 10 minutes (dough will remain slightly sticky). Form dough into ball. Coat a large bowl with butter or shortening. Add dough to bowl and turn to coat dough with butter or shortening. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
3) Punch down dough. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 10 minutes. Coat each of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with butter or shortening. Roll dough into 18-inch-long log. Cut into 18 equal pieces. Using floured hands, form each dough piece into ball. Place 9 dough balls in each pan, spacing apart. Cover each pan loosely with towel. Let rolls stand in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Brush rolls with egg glaze. Sprinkle with seeds. Place rolls in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 350°F. Bake rolls until golden brown, about 30 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Store airtight at room temperature. Wrap rolls in foil and rewarm in 350°F oven 10 minutes.) Serve warm. Yield: 18 rolls.
Part of the judging criteria for the party is to use Pomegranates for decorations. It's concept, a work in progress if you will to use the bread wreath as a centerpiece. they are easy to make.
Instead of dividing the "log" in Mary's recipe, I made the long log and just closed the ends to make a circle. To get the look of the divided rolls, yet each roll attached to the center ring, just take a pair of kitchen shears and cut lines through all but about 1 inch of the dough. Continue working around the circle until you have 18-24 "rolls".
Once the cuts have neen made. bake like you would the rolls.
When you use this as a centerpiece, you can fill it with fruit, Christmas ornaments, a cookie display, anything that comes to mind.
Oh, as to the bread, Anadama bread is wonderful. The molasses makes it extra sweet, the corn meal adds texture. The roasted salt I used (in place of Mary's sesame seeds) to accent the top adds just the right amount of glory.
Like I said, tired of "average" dinner rolls, want something special for the holidays, give Pomegranate Molasses bread rolls a chance!