Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sourdough Cornmeal Loaf

Last weekend, I had some sourdough starter all ready to go but no inspiration. So, I turned to my housemate, who suggested a sourdough bread made with cornmeal, a combination she's enjoyed at a local bakery. I couldn't find a recipe anywhere online, so I ended up adapting King Arthur Flour's basic sourdough bread to incorporate cornmeal. I also added some vital wheat gluten to give the bread that extra bit of fluffiness despite the cornmeal, which worked out perfectly. The bread had a nice, even crumb but wasn't heavy at all. The finely ground cornmeal added just the right amount of texture and flavor. It was excellent with cheese or honey, or just on the side with dinner. Feel free to add more flour or water as needed to get a workable but still somewhat sticky consistency--these are just the amounts that worked for me. You also might want to add a bit more sweetener to the dough depending on your preference; 1 T makes a perfectly delicious savory bread that goes well with everything, but a bit more honey would be excellent too for a sweeter breakfast loaf.

Sourdough Cornmeal Loaf (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
1 round loaf

1 cup (8.5 ounces) sourdough starter
1 1/2 cup (12 ounces) lukewarm water
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar or honey (or more for sweeter bread)
2 tsp instant yeast
2 3/4 cup (11 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, more as needed
1 cup (6 ounces) finely ground cornmeal
2 T vital wheat gluten

1. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Briefly mix to combine, and then knead to form a soft, smooth dough. Add more flour or water as needed so that the dough clears the sides of the bowl but just sticks to the bottom.
2. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
3. Shape the dough into a round loaf. Place on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 60 minutes. Slash the top, and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow-sounding. Cool on a rack.

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12 comments:

  1. Lovely loaf! I bet it really was excellent with cheese and honey. It might be interesting to try with semolina instead of cornmeal too. :)

    - Jackie

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  2. Your recipe sounds delicious! Molly@KAF

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  3. SARA, I amaze by the look of this bread. Very Impressive!
    Cheers,
    elra

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  4. Wow, such a great looking bread...looks very yummie!

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  5. That's a good lookin' loaf! I love the addition of cornmeal!

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  6. This looks absolutely perfect!

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  7. i have a question - when i mix up my regular sourdough recipe - i use approximately the same 6 c. of flour = to your recipe...but i get 3 loaves from my dough....

    also - i use a much longer rising time - 12 hours...and do not use yeast or the gluten.

    i am going to wrestle with this - and let you know. i feed my starter tonight.

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  8. Beautiful! Cornmeal always lends such a great texture.

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  9. @annie56:

    The number of loaves you'll get all depends on the size you make...this one is a large loaf and could easily be divided into smaller loaves if you prefer.

    I only use the vital wheat gluten when making bread with low-gluten or gluten-free flours in the mix (such as whole wheat flour or cornmeal). It just helps add a little gluten that the flour is missing to keep everything light and fluffy.

    Your way of doing the sourdough without yeast is definitely more authentic. :) I generally add some instant yeast to shorten rising rime (I'm impatient!) and to keep the dough from getting too sour (some folks like this, but I have a friend adverse to super-sour sourdough).

    Hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  10. What a yummy sourdough loaf! I like the idea of adding the cornmeal...exceedingly versatile bread, isn't it?

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  11. How gorgeous is that! As a child I loved Annadama bread, but I haven't had a cornmeal bread in decades. I have to give this a try.

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