As one story goes, this yeast bread was named by a man whose wife didn't bake, but served him gruel every day. In desperation, he baked the bread while mumbling about his wife, Anna. He must have been a good baker because his cornmeal-molasses bread remains a favorite. Slice the bread and serve with jam or use it to make sandwiches.
- In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup of the flour and the yeast. In a medium saucepan, combine water and cornmeal. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in molasses, shortening, and salt. Cool just until warm (115 degree F to 120 degree F).
- Add molasses mixture to flour mixture; add eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping side of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).
- Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Lightly grease two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans. Shape each dough portion into a loaf. Place in pans. Cover; let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 30 minutes).
- Brush with butter. Bake in a 375 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped, covering loosely with foil for the last 20 minutes of baking. Immediately remove from pans. Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.