Anadama Bread

Lightly sweetened with cornmeal and molasses, Anadama Bread is a classic New England brown bread.  It’s a unique (and delicious) bread recipe!

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Lightly sweetened with cornmeal and molasses, Anadama Bread is a classic New England bread.  It's a unique (and delicious) bread recipe!

Who sets the regional boundaries for a country?  Take for instance the Southeastern part of the U.S.  Is Louisiana in the Southeast?  Or is that just the South by that point?  Texas?  Is that South? Southeast?  I know many Texans would argue it’s neither – Texas is just Texas.  Florida is another one.  Technically Florida is in the Southeast, but Florida doesn’t feel at all like it’s neighboring states of Georgia and Alabama.

Lightly sweetened with cornmeal and molasses, Anadama Bread is a classic New England bread.  It's a unique (and delicious) bread recipe!

This same quandary exists in the Northeast, too.  We live in upstate New York – that alone is a debate as no one in this state can agree on what constitutes “upstate New York.”  But keeping on point for today’s post, the question is what constitutes New England?  It seems generally accepted that New England does not include New York state, but rather New England starts when you cross the border into Vermont.

Here’s the thing, though – we live about 30 minutes from Massachusetts and 45 minutes from Vermont.  Is that close enough?  At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter where a region begins and ends.  The customs and culture of different areas of the country tend to blend into the surrounding states.  In this way, a region is more of a gradual thing rather than a border that you drive across.

Lightly sweetened with cornmeal and molasses, Anadama Bread is a classic New England bread.  It's a unique (and delicious) bread recipe!

Anadama Bread

The point of this whole regional borders conversation does circle back to today’s recipe.  Anadama Bread is a classic New England recipe.  According to legend, Anadama Bread first appeared in Rockport, Massachusetts in the mid-1800’s.  This bread is somewhat unique in that it includes a bit of cornmeal with the flour, and it also includes molasses.  (For me, molasses is closely connected to gingerbread – so I was intrigued to learn that molasses is a key ingredient in Anadama Bread.)

As the story goes, Anna was the wife of a fisherman in Massachusetts, and she regularly made cornmeal porridge sweetened with molasses for her husband. One day, the fisherman came home and added yeast and flour to the porridge and put the whole thing in the oven while muttering, “Anna, damn you.” While I doubt there is any factual basis here, it’s still a fun story as to how this bread got its name.

Lightly sweetened with cornmeal and molasses, Anadama Bread is a classic New England bread.  It's a unique (and delicious) bread recipe!

We first tasted Anadama Bread at a local diner years ago.  I’ve gotta say – Anadama Bread is tasty.  Really tasty.  The molasses brings a sweetness to the finished loaf, but it’s not a flavor that you can readily identify.  (In fact, I initially assumed this bread was sweetened with honey.)  I finally got around to baking a loaf of this bread here at home, and it turned out quite well!  In fact, Laura said the flavor reminded her of the brown bread served at Outback Steakhouse.  (I actually made a copycat version of that bread years ago, and it is indeed honey in that one.)

Lightly sweetened with cornmeal and molasses, Anadama Bread is a classic New England bread.  It's a unique (and delicious) bread recipe!

The one thing I will say about this batch of Anadama Bread is that it really tests the limits of a standard 9″x5″ breadpan.  Perhaps I need to reduce the quantity of dough for the next round – but only by maybe 10%.  As you can see, the bread grew above the edge of the pan quite a bit.  I was ok with it, but this is one large piece of bread!  We ate several slices while it was still slightly warm from the oven, and then we toasted the leftover slices with a bit of butter.  Amazing!

If you enjoy bread baking, then put Anadama Bread on the list of breads to try.  It’s a unique one!  I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do in our house.  Cheers!

Did you bake a loaf of this Anadama Bread at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your version!

Lightly sweetened with cornmeal and molasses, Anadama Bread is a classic New England bread.  It's a unique (and delicious) bread recipe!

Anadama Bread

Lightly sweetened with cornmeal and molasses, Anadama Bread is a classic New England bread.  It's a unique (and delicious) bread recipe!
5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 232kcal



  • Using a large bowl, combine cornmeal and salt. Using a microwave or stovetop, bring water to a boil. Add butter, molasses and boiling water to bowl with cornmeal; stir until well combined. Let mixture cool to room temperature (~20 minutes).
  • Using a stand mixer, add cornmeal mixture, flour, milk and yeast; stir until well combined. Using a dough hook, mix on medium speed for 5-6 minutes.
  • Transfer dough into an oiled bowl. Cover lightly and let dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size.
  • Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface. Fold several times and then transfer dough into a 9”x5” loaf pan. (Note: The dough will be very loose at this stage.)
  • Cover pan lightly and let rest until dough has risen ~1” above top of pan (~30-45 minutes).
  • Towards the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown. (Notes: Check bread after 25 minutes. If it is browning too quickly, then tent with a piece of aluminum foil. If you have an instant read thermometer, bread should be ~190°F when fully baked.)
  • Let bread cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack. Let cool fully before slicing.
Lightly sweetened with cornmeal and molasses, Anadama Bread is a classic New England bread.  It's a unique (and delicious) bread recipe!

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  1. Will be making this soon can i use almond milk and vegan butter as am a vegan i never had anadama bread before perfect for my birthday on sunday and after office snacks love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. You know, I haven’t used vegan options to make this recipe, but I suspect they might work – it’s worth giving it a try! Thanks so much, Ramya!

  2. 5 stars
    What a fun (and delicious) bread! You had me with the molasses. Love that stuff! Adds so much flavour. Can’t wait to give this one try, I know we’ll love it!

    1. I love molasses, too, Dawn – but I’m used to baking desserts with it. This was unique to use it in bread form! This loaf didn’t last long around here. 🙂

  3. When I started cooking consistently, I had a set of international cookbooks, as well as regional american cookbooks. I remember the name of this bread, and loved it. Now I need to make it again! Fingers crossed that we get to still go to Maine and Vermont next month. I used to live on Long Island, but never ventured into New England. Can’t wait!

    1. Ah, I do hope you get to make that trip to Maine and Vermont next month, Mimi! I haven’t been to Maine yet, but I absolutely love (!!) Vermont. It’s truly a unique state, and I love getting over there every chance I can!

  4. 5 stars
    I have never had this bread. I often use molasses or even sorghum in place of honey or sugar in many bread recipes (like oat/wheat bread). Love, love, love the flavor it adds to bread. I can only imagine how fabulous it goes with the cornmeal in this recipe. Headed to Folly beach tomorrow so I want to try this as soon as I get back—unless I can get my work caught up early enough today to whip up a loaf to take with (I cancelled the hotel and got a cute Airbnb with a kitchen). I imagine it would make delicious toast for breakfast!

    1. So this bread wouldn’t too far off your normal routine then, Kim! The molasses gives this bread a unique sweetness – it’s delicious. Give it a shot! And HAVE FUN in Folly!! So glad you ditched the hotel for the Airbnb instead. I’m jealous!! (P.S. This bread does indeed make excellent toast!)

      1. 5 stars
        I made it last night and OMG it is so delicious! I had a slice while still a little warm (even though I know bread should be totally cool before slicing, but it didn’t seem to affe
        Get the loaf), and then later, I toasted a slice. I only had coarse ground corn meal so the untoasted was a little gritty (I didn’t mind though), but still great, and toasted was divine. The cornmeal molasses combo is unique to me and so darn good. I solved the potential overflow problem by shaping it into a ball and proofing/baking in a Dutch oven. Next time I might use a 9x4x4 pan de mie. I really love this recipe! About to head to Asheville to get my daughter and then on to the beach—gonna be a LONG day.

        1. Well by now, I suspect you are waking up in Folly Beach and perhaps walking on the beach with a coffee in one hand. I hope you had an uneventful trip! (Also, I suspect our car will learn the way from Asheville to Folly Beach…starting in about ~2 years. Haha!)

          I’m so glad you had time to make a loaf of this bread before you left town. It really is a fun and unique loaf! Good idea on the Dutch oven, too. I’m actually making a loaf of Dutch oven bread today myself. Enjoy your time at the beach, and I can’t wait to hear about it when you get home!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve never made Anadama bread, but I remember reading about where the name came from. There was some speculation it came from someone named Anna (as in “Anna, damn her!”) whose husband didn’t like her cornmeal she served him so he (or she, more likely) added more ingredients to make this bread. I don’t know, but I’ve wanted to make it, but clearly filed it too far back in my brain. Thanks for reminding me, David! This is definitely on my list! And, I love that big slice!

    1. Yes, I read that story about Anna, damn her! Like many recipe names, that story seems like it’s been a bit embellished over time. Haha! Either way, it’s worth making a loaf of this bread – it’s quite tasty, and it makes for some excellent morning toast!

    1. Oooo…I like where you’re heading with those turkey sandwiches, Marissa. I’m putting this on my radar to make again during Thanksgiving for sure! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve never heard of Anadama bread, but I follow you on the boundaries… it’s funny as a Canadian when I watch the news because they’ll refer to “Midwest” and I have no idea which states they entail. LOL, if I look at the map, wouldn’t Texas be “mid-west?” But I suppose that’s referred to as “South”? Anyway, I’ve got lots of molasses to use up — this would be great to make for Thanksgiving!

    1. Hey, I don’t blame you one bit, Michelle! I’m not even sure where the Midwest begins and ends…and I love in the US! In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter too much. I do hope you enjoy this bread. It’s quite tasty, and you’re onto something with that Thanksgiving idea!!

    1. Hey Kelly! You know what’s funny? I stumbled across your Instagram feed yesterday and was drooling over the photos – and then your comment pops up here. It’s like the universe was trying to tell us something, right? Haha! Either way, this bread is indeed fantastic. I enjoyed a slice warm, but I really enjoyed it lightly toasted with a bit of butter. Yum!!

  7. 5 stars
    I do love making bread and this is one I can’t wait to dive into to try! It looks and sounds wonderful and I’ve never made a loaf of bread that I didn’t love! I’m intrigued by the cornmeal and molasses. Those are two ingredients that I haven’t used in bread baking before!

    1. Haha – I couldn’t agree with you more, Kathy! I’ve never met a bread that I didn’t love. And homemade bread? Well those just go straight to the top of the list! This is a unique loaf of bread for sure, but it’s quite tasty – so pull out that cornmeal and molasses and turn the oven on! 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    A bang on good bread you’ve made there David and I think your loaf looks just fine. Molasses is one of those things you don’t find here, but we do have some very dark syrups I might try in the bread.
    Now, about regions. I know the Texas debate well and when we lived in Kentucky I learned that there is quite a debate there as to if one is a Southerner or a Mid-westerner. Take my friend…

    1. I guess that doesn’t surprise me too much that molasses isn’t common over there. I think a good dark syrup (as long as it’s sweet) would stand in quite well here, though. It’s a tasty loaf of bread, Ron!

      Interesting note about Kentucky and Southerner vs. Midwesterner. I always put Kentucky in the South…but then again, I’ve never actually lived there!

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve never heard of Anadama Bread, but as I like both cornbread and molasses, I am excited about this recipe. The bread truly looks terrific (despite that little overload situation.)
    Also this reminds me Newfoundland molasses bread I’ve wanted to try for a couple of years. The question is what to bake first 🙂

    1. Newfoundland molasses bread? I haven’t heard of that one before, but I want to look it up now. Newfoundland and New England aren’t that far apart really, and I could see how these 2 recipes might be related…now I need to go look that bread up. Thanks, Ben, and happy baking!!

  10. 5 stars
    Never heard of Anadama Bread, David, this looks and sounds absolutely amazing! I can see how the cornmeal and molasses would make for a unique flavor and texture. Definitely the perfect recipe as we approach fall. Can’t wait to make this! 😋

    1. I hear ya, Shannon…Anadama Bread was a new one to me, too. But it’s quite unique, and I have to say quite delicious! With fall on the horizon, I’m back to baking bread. This one will definitely make an appearance in our kitchen again soon! 🙂

  11. BTW, I kinda love that it spread over the loaf pan… gives it a rustic look IMO. When I saw molasses I thought this would be like a gingerbread loaf too… and am so intrigued to taste this- guess I’ll be sending the ol drone up to retrieve me a slice so dont forget to keep the kitchen window open! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Shashi! I agree that the rustic nature of this bread is kinda fun. 🙂 Even though it includes molasses, this bread is more savory than sweet. It makes for fantastic toast, too! Send that drone on up…I should have a new loaf coming out of the oven soon! Haha.

  12. 5 stars
    Got it right on the first try and it’s amazing! Recipe was very easy to follow for a newbie and the loaf is perfection.

  13. May I make a suggestion, or2? I’ve observed 3 of your bread recipes show a droopy center on the top. Inside you can observe the grain of the loaf is collapsed. There are 2 common causes for this, the most common cause is not enough strength in the bread structure. All purpose flour can make good bread, in smaller loaves that are totally supported by the bread pan sides. Meaning the center dome is the only part that rises slightly over the sides of the pan. The strong structure of bread is provided by gluten development. All purpose is lower in gluten so it can be used for cakes, pastry, cookies and so forth. The answer is bread flour. Still white but with a higher gluten level. That will give the structure of your breads more strength to support the rise. Also some one mentioned her coarse cornmeal was crunchy in her bread. That is easily remedied by spinning the coarse cornmeal in the blender on high for short bursts until the desired fine texture is reached. Cornmeal has no gluten so using the higher gluten bread flour will offset that. It’s the same with oatmeal or rye flour as well.

    The second possibility is over proofing (too long rising). It’s a tricky thing to get a handle on. Especially when using an oven to proof your loaves. I myself do my 2nd rise ( in the loaf pans) in my oven. Then turn the oven on at the end of rising time, this allows the bread it’s oven spring time while the oven comes up to temperature gradually. You can try playing with your proofing time or proof at a slightly cooler temperature. Until you have a working relationship with your particular oven.

    Another interesting technique to try out, is making your bread starting with a sponge. You can research the technique on the internet, it works with old fashioned yeasts including cake yeasts, as well as the modern Instant or Rapid Rise yeasts. I use it for all my bread baking now. I use it for all our daily bread. I make 100% whole wheat, I use molasses for sweetener with cider vinegar to balance the sweetener and flax seed for Vitamin E and fiber. We like the deeper, less sweet, savory flavor, plus it saves a lot of money on our daily bread over honey which has become so high priced in recent years. But I recommend honey or maple syrup for sweetened yeast bread, like Challah and Holiday breads, cinnamon rolls, and so forth.

    This Anadama Bread did originate in New England, originally using stone ground wheat, since that was all that was available. It probably was more like the whole wheat of today, since they ground the whole grain with no means to separate the hull from the inner parts. It is interesting to note the recipe of another classic New England Bread, Boston Brown Bread is quite similar. The major difference being Anadama is baked where Boston Brown Bread is placed in a water proofed mold and steamed. Most colonists shared outdoor ovens for baking, where steaming required the extra steaming pot, and taking up the fire pit for a single food instead of food for the whole day. You have a great recipe here a couple of the tweaks I have offered will make it perfect. I’ve been baking all kinds of bread for over 60 years, and wanted to share these with someone who loves to bake bread. So you don’t have to print this, just wanted to offer these tips.

    1. Hey Mary Ann! Thank you so much for taking the time to offer these suggestions. I do love baking bread, and it’s always nice to talk to other folks who love baking bread, too. I will try some of your tips next time I make a batch of this bread! I like your idea of starting with a sponge as well. You’ve inspired me…now I just need to carve out some time to make bread! Happy baking!

  14. 5 stars
    I grew up loving anadama bread, and have tried several recipes to get a good sandwich loaf. This one is perfection. Rises beautifully, taste is right, and slices very well. I will make it again many times.

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