Monday, January 30, 2012

yeasted cornbread

I found this recipe, sort of, on The online recipe is geared toward a bread machine which is something I don't have.

I used to have one but then I got rid of it.

It was given to me by an old lady from church. She (and her husband) were moving out of their lovely home and in with one of their children and were consequently unburdening themselves of most of their possessions. She was so generous with me, I think because I had been kind to her, and I have a few of her kitchen things. They aren't marked in any way, but they are known to me. I remember her with fondness and gratitude every time I use one of them.

So there wasn't any guilt in getting rid of the bread machine. I wanted it at first, but then after I had it for awhile I realized that it was too big to live on my kitchen counter, and took up a lot of real estate in a cabinet. And because I rarely used it - it made only one loaf at a time - I sent it back out into the universe. I hope someone somewhere has it and loves it.

(The nice thing about having my own blog is that I can write all the random thoughts and back-story about anything at all and I don't have to get to "it" immediately. "It" being a bread recipe, in this particular instance. The recipe follows. Eventually. Feel free to skip down to the bottom and bypass completely the drivel and endless explanations.)

I was looking online for a bread recipe that uses cornmeal. I have popcorn kernels in my food storage, and although I like regular popped popcorn that you eat out of a bowl while watching a movie, making it once or twice a year like I do doesn't exactly justify having 200 lbs. of kernels sitting in my spare room. I ground some into cornmeal to make cornbread, but again, even though that's the express purpose for which it was purchased, cornbread isn't something that I make so often. Usually just when we are having homemade soup or chili. I may have gotten a little carried away when I bought all that corn but it's ours now, and I wanted a recipe that would help us eat all this corn in my own lifetime.

So here it is. I have tweaked it from the original to suit it to my own needs - no bread machine, and preferences - no trans fats or fresh milk. Feel free to change it around to suit yours.

Yeasted cornbread

In a large mixing bowl combine:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup dry milk
  • 5 teaspoons dry yeast

In a microwave-safe dish combine:

  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter

and microwave on high power for a minute or two until butter is starting to melt and water is about 115 degrees F. How long exactly depends on how cold your water and butter are when you start, right? The mixture should feel warm but not hot. Pour it into the dry ingredients and beat for 30 seconds. Add:

  • 2 eggs

Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. At this point I change the paddle attachment to the dough hook on my stand mixer. Then slowly add:

  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour, one cup at a time

and knead for 5-8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic, and cleans the side of the bowl. Pull dough out of the bowl, knead it by hand on a floured surface for a minute or two to refresh your hand-kneading skills and to revel in the experience, then oil the bowl, put the dough back into the bowl, and turn the dough over inside the bowl so that the top side is oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for an hour or so until it has doubled in size. Punch dough down, divide and shape into 4 loaves. Cover the loaves and let rise until dough has doubled again. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Loaves are done with they are a deep golden brown color and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. I have 8x4x4 pans, so they are on the small side. If I was using 9x5x4 pans I would divide the dough into only three loaves and bake them a bit longer.

I like this bread because it has the slightly gritty texture of the corn. The flavor and crumb are very good. It slices well for toast or sandwiches. My Pretty Girl says she likes this bread better than my other bread. Which is plain ol' Honey Wheat Bread. Which I may go on and on about on my blog at some other time.


  1. I do like this bread way better. Not that I don't like the honey wheat--i do. But for some reason this bread suits me.

  2. I think it's interesting--maybe funny--that I do many of your same procedures--like kneading for a minute or two after I take it out of the stand mixer, using the microwave to melt the butter, and just changing to fit my situation.

    I wonder if I should divide the recipe in half--I really don't know what size my pans are, so I'll measure them. I also wonder if I could change the ratio of flour:corn meal. A little less flour a little more corn meal.

    Also, I noticed that you don't bloom the yeast. Neither does Mark and he says it's just a choice. I'll try this method.

    Married to Bobby, when there's no corn bread in the refrigerator (I cut it into squares and put them in a gallon-sized baggie), he says, "um, we're out of cornbread..." like it's a staple--and I guess for him, it is.

    I'm going to make this today.

    1. I doubled the recipe from the one online - it was for one big bread machine loaf - and the first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly and got two smaller loaves out of it. It's easily divided back down.
      My cookbook calls this yeast method the "easy-mix" recipe. I don't have a recipe for bread that doesn't use this method. Except for my artisan bread cookbooks - they all proof the yeast first and soak the flour the day before. I'm not ready for that yet.

  3. Well, I let the mixed wheat flour and canned milk sit and rest for about as long as it takes for the yeast to bloom (about 15 minutes to get a good head on it) and then add it along with the other flours (soy, regular bread, whatever else I'm adding.)