Corn Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Dough Yield: About

    22

    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in

Bread

By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

Corn has Been a Staple Grain for Thousands of Years among the native peoples of the Americas and, for the past five hundred years, throughout Europe. It is no wonder that it found its way into bread making; during times of wheat shortages, many different grains were used to extend precious wheat flour and fill the bellies of the laboring peasants (a huge proportion of whom consumed little more than bread). Nutritionally, however, corn is deficient when eaten on its own, and can cause the niacin-deficiency disease pellagra (known in Switzerland as Maiserkrankheit, or “maize-eater’s illness”). Interestingly, when corn is processed with lime, as in the making of traditional nixtamal for tortillas in Mexico, niacin is released and the corn becomes highly nutritious. The corn bread produced from this formula has a tight crumb, a golden crumb color, a somewhat dull crust color, and a unique aroma and sweetness provided by the corn.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 25%

Ingredients

Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 15 lb 7.5 kg 1 lb, 8 oz 75 %
Fine Cornmeal 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz 25 %
Water 12.6 lb 6.3 kg 1 lb, 4.2 oz 63 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Yeast .3 lb, fresh .15 kg, fresh .17 oz, instant dry 1.5 %
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 1 lb .5 kg 1.6 oz 5 %
Total Yield 34.3 lb 17.15 kg 3 lb, 6.6 oz 171.5 %

Poolish

Bread Flour5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz (1 cup) 100 %
Yeast .01 lb, fresh .005 kg, fresh ( tsp, instant dry) .2%
Total 10.01 lb 5.005 kg 1 lb

Final Dough

Bread Flour 10 lb 5 kg 1 lb (3⅝ cups)
Fine Cornmeal 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz (1⅜ cups)
Water 7.6 lb 3.8 kg 12.2 oz ( cups)
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast .29 lb, fresh .145 kg, fresh .17 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 1 lb .5 kg 1.6 oz (3 T)
Poolish 10.01 lb 5.005 kg 1 lb (all of above)
Total 34.3 lb 17.15 kg 3 lb, 6.6 oz

Method

  1. Poolish: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour, and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F.
  2. Soaking and Mixing: Add the cornmeal to the mixing bowl and pour the dough water over it. Allow it to soak for about 15 minutes. This will begin softening the cornmeal, and mixing and handling quality will improve. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the poolish. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. The absorption of the cornmeal can vary considerably (particularly with medium or coarse cornmeal), so it is important to check the dough carefully while it is on first speed and make corrections as necessary. The dough should be of medium consistency once the ingredients are incorporated. Turn the mixer to second speed and mix for 3 to 3½ minutes. Cornmeal tends to have a puncturing effect on gluten; nevertheless, mix until there is a moderate gluten development. Desired dough temperature: 76°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 1½ hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough after 45 minutes of bulk fermentation.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces (or make rolls with smaller pieces). Preshape lightly into rounds and place on a lightly floured work surface, seams up. Cover the rounds with plastic. When the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 20 minutes), shape it into tight round or oval loaves. Place the loaves into floured bannetons or onto lightly floured baker’s linen and cover with plastic.
  6. Final Fermentation: Approximately 1 to 1¼ hours at 75°F.
  7. Baking: Invert the risen loaves onto the loading conveyor or peel. Score the loaves as desired. Presteam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. Bake in a 460°F oven. Open the oven vents after the loaves show color, in order to finish the bake in a drying oven. Loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds will bake in approximately 40 minutes.