We realized it had been ages since I’d made yeasted cornmeal bread. And it’s the perfect bread for grilling and using as a plate for fish.
I was going to use the BBB’s October 2010 Broa (Portuguese Corn Bread) recipe but we didn’t have any white cornmeal. We did have yellow cornmeal though. We always keep it on hand. I decided I should take a look at the Moosewood recipe again.
The Moosewood corn bread has always been exceedingly flat. I wondered if splitting the recipe in two and making a starter might improve it.
I love this flour from Rogers. What a shame it is that a.) there is only one store chain here in Toronto that carries it; the closest store is about 40 minutes car drive on ugly main roads from our house, b.) it’s a little expensive because it has to travel all the way from B.C. and c.) the other big flour companies (one of them a prominent Toronto-based company that owns a giant supermarket chain) cannot grasp that putting azodicarbonamide into so called “unbleached” renders it bleached. (The other big flour companies do NOT answer their email …read more ranting about flour here)
I couldn’t believe how well the bread turned out! The crumb was so light and beautiful that we decided to have the bread as bread the first night. We served it with Portuguese-style salt cod that we learned how to make from a friendly shelf-stocker at the store that sold the salt cod. I adored the dinner. T was not so pleased with it that first night and insisted on trying again the following night.
We toasted the bread on the barbecue for the second Portuguese-style salt cod experiment, in which T barbecued the cod. (Remind me to post T’s radical bacalau recipe.)
Yeasted Corn Bread
based on OUR recipe for corn bread (which is in turn based on one in “Sundays At Moosewood Restaurant”)
- ¾ c (180gm) lukewarm water
- ½ tsp (1.8gm) active dry yeast
- ¼ c (30gm) whole wheat flour
- 1½ c (187gm) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp (1.5gm) seasalt
- 1½ c (~255gm) medium grind yellow cornmeal ¹
- 3 Tbsp (45gm) olive oil
- ~1 tsp (~7gm) honey ²
- 1½ c (360gm) boiling water ³
- 2 Tbsp (30gm) lukewarm water
- ½ tsp (1.8gm) active dry yeast
- 1½ c (187gm) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp (9gm) seasalt
- all of the above starter
- yellow corn flour, optional
- Starter In the evening of the day before baking the bread, pour the water into a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the yeast until it has dissolved completely.
- Add the flours and salt and using a wooden spoon, mix until the flour is incorporated. Use your hands to knead the mixture until it is smooth. Do this in or out of the bowl but please note that no more flour is to be added.
- Cover the bowl with a plate and leave overnight on the counter (out of drafts).
- Actual Dough In the morning of the day you will be baking the bread, put the cornmeal (coarsely ground meal from dried corn, aka maize) oil and honey into a large mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water and stir well. Set aside to cool until just warm.
- In a small bowl, whisk the yeast into 2 Tbsp of lukewarm water to dissolve. Check the temperature of the cornmeal mixture on your wrist to make sure it has cooled enough. Stir the dissolved yeast into the cooled cornmeal mixture and blend well.
- Add the flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and the flour is mostly incorporated.
- KneadingTurn the dough out onto an UNfloured board. Place the starter on top of the cornmeal dough. Wash and dry the mixing bowl. (Please do not be tempted to skip this step.
- Hand-knead for 10 to 15 minutes until it is smooth. The dough may be rather sticky. Use a dough scraper to keep the board clean. Just before transferring the kneaded dough to the bowl, if necessary, sprinkle a tiny bit of extra flour to form dough into a ball. Put the dough in the clean bowl; cover it with a plate and allow it to rise in a no draft place until it has doubled in size. Then, deflate dough by reaching down on the side of the bowl and pulling the bottom of the dough to the top by folding. Do this a couple of times (I hope that made sense). Cover the bowl with a plate and allow the dough to rise until doubled again.
- Shaping Scatter a light dusting of flour on the board. Turn the dough out and cut it in two. Fold each piece of dough in half, cover with a clean tea towel and allow them to rest for 5 minutes. While it is resting, put a piece of parchment paper on the peel.
- Shape each piece into a round: gently grab the outside of the first piece of dough to create a false braid. Keep fake braiding until the dough curls up on itself to become a tight round. Place each ball seam side DOWN on the parchment paper. Dust the tops of each with corn flour, if you have it. Cover the shaped loaves with the tea towel, followed by a large plastic grocery bag and allow to rise at room temperature until they are almost doubled.
- Baking Preheat the oven to 400F with the stone on the middle shelf. Slash the loaves if you want but only if the bread has risen to almost half. If it has risen higher, the bread has a tendency to fall if slashed. (I’m always too nervous to slash the bread!)
- Spray the loaves liberally with water – or spray liberally on the parchment paper if you want the flour on top to stay intact. Transfer the loaves to the hot stone and immediately turn the oven down to 350F. Bake the bread about 30 minutes in total. Turn the loaves around half way through the baking to account for uneven heat in the oven. The bread is done when it is golden on top and hollow sounding on the bottom (around 200F inside).
- Remove the bread from oven and allow to cool on a well ventilated rack. Wait until they are completely cool before eating them! They are still continuing to bake inside! 4
adapted from SUNDAYS AT MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT
by the Moosewood Collective
published by Simon&Schuster/Fireside 1990
If there is any bread left the next day, it makes terrific Stovetop Dressing. There is also a quick (no yeast) cornbread recipe. It is also excellent sliced thinly and grilled on the barbecue. Spray the grilled bread with olive oil and lay grilled meat on top.
1.) Cornmeal Corn meal is what is used to make polenta. Please note that the gram measurement is very approximate. When I made this bread, I used our cup measures.
2.) Honey: I eyeballed the amount of honey so neither the spoon measurement nor the gram measurement is accurate. But I did use the teaspoon measure to get the honey out of the jar….
3.) Water: Tap water is fine to use. Under no circumstances should you use water from the hot water tap. Heat the water in a kettle or microwave (to create lukewarm water, add cold water until it is the correct temperature – use the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist – Or you can use a thermometer.) Please note that before the yeast is added, the temperature should be BELOW 120F because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.
4.) If you wish to serve warm bread, reheat it after the loaf has cooled completely. To reheat UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven directly on a rack for ten minutes. If the bread happens to be is a little stale, put it into a paper bag first. Spray the bag liberally with water and place it in the hot oven until the bag is dry (about 10 minutes).
- other yeasted corn breads:
» Corn Bread adapted from a recipe in “Sundays At Moosewood Restaurant” by the Moosewood Collective
» Broa – Portuguese Corn Bread (BBB October 2010)
» Pao de Milho
» Portuguese Corn Bread from “The Food of Spain and Portugal”
» Portuguese Cornmeal White Bread (Pao A Moda De Sao Miguel) from Gourmet 2000
- recipes from OUR kitchen:
» more bread recipes
» even more bread recipes
Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:
Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event hosted by Heather (girlichef)
that encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.