Howdy dessert and general nom lovers. It seems like I’ve had quite a few bread recipes on here lately. And why not? It’s gooshy, it’s tender, it smells good. And well, I just plain like it. So yeah. :-). So at the fear of becoming redundant, let’s bring on the bread…again!
When I was in grad school there was a lovely little bakery that had muffins, bars, scones…all of the usual suspects. Ok, now I’m in the mood to watch The Usual Suspects…don’t mind me. Who doesn’t like going off on a nice tangent? Anyhoo, what this bakery really did well was bread. And my favorite bread there was a cornmeal bread. Not cornbread. It wasn’t dense that way. It was a yeasted bread loaf with cornmeal in it. I had never had anything like it before, and I adored it! So when I saw this recipe in the Sono Baking Company Cookbook, I knew I had to try to recreate the memory. And the results were scrumptious. 🙂
This bread is tender, has a great texture because of that cornmeal. But ladies and gentlemen, the crust is king. Sono Baking Company knows what they’re doing. The chew on this crust is amazing. I’m not usually the kind of person who wants an end piece on the loaf of bread, bit for this sweetie I make an exception.
Now this bread, like almost all breads, takes a little time to make. There’s not a lot of active involvement in making it. You do a little kneading, but most of the time you’re waiting for it to rise…maybe giving it encouraging little pep talks? Hey, if people can talk to their plants, we can talk to bread, right? Right? :p
Since it takes a while to rise, I suggest doing this on a weekend day when you plan to have a nerd binge-watching session on Netflix (Twin Peaks, Doctor Who, X-Files, Agents of SHIELD). Come on, you know you wanna. :). Then you can just conveniently pause the episode, pat ol Bessie down, and wait for her to rise again.
This bread would be great next time you make a big, heapin’ pot ‘o chili, and wonderful as French toast too.
Hope you love it! Until next time, happy snacking!
(Recipe from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook: The Best Sweet and Savory Recipes for Every Occasion by John Barricelli).
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- ¾ cup warm water (105-110 degrees F.)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1¾ cups plus 1 tbsp. bread flour
- ½ cup coarse yellow cornmeal, plus 2 tbsp. for the baking sheet
- 2½ tsp. coarse salt
- In a medium bowl combine half the water and the yeast, and let it proof for five minutes.
- When the yeast has proofed, add the olive oil. Set aside.
- In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt.
- Add the yeast mixture and the remaining water to the dry ingredients and beat on low speed, scraping down the bowl if you need to. Mix until it comes together into a slightly sticky dough, about 1 minute.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead the dough by scooping up from underneath and folding it over on itself. Knead for 5-7 minutes, until dough is smooth.
- Fold the sides of the dough down to make a ball.
- Place the dough, smooth side down, in an oiled bowl. Turn it around in the bowl so it is smooth side up, covering it in oil.
- Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap in a room that's at least 70 degrees F. Let the dough sit until doubled, about 1 to 1½ hours.
- Punch the dough down by using a pastry scraper to fold the top down, the bottom up, and sides in.
- Turn the dough so that the smooth side is up and let rise again in the bowl loosely covered with plastic wrap until it has increased by 1½ times, about 1 hour.
- Sprinkle a baking sheet with 2 tbsp. of cornmeal.
- To shape the dough, turn it out onto a floured surface so that the top is down. Fold in the top, bottom, and sides. Flip it so the top is up and shape it into a round. Give the dough a quarter turn and tighten it. Do this two more times until the dough is a tight ball.
- Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet and let it rise until it has increased in bulk 1½ times, about 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- Cut a ¼ deep slash in the bread and place into the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 425 F.
- Bake, rotating the pan ⅔ of the way through the baking time, until the crust is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 30-35 minutes.