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This is a dense, earthy, autumnal loaf that is not at all similar to the sweet Southern-style cornbread that we are most familiar with here in the United States. This bread is shaped free-form into flat, round loaves. We found that heating the bread and slicing 1/2’’ thick slices made it a perfect accompaniment to heavy soups; it’s perfect for dunking. The dense texture also makes it a great candidate to use for your turkey stuffing.
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons barley malt extract or malt powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups cornmeal
3 1/2 cups (approx.) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (to coat the dough while it’s rising)
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the barley malt extract and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Let sit for about 10 minutes to give the yeast a chance to get going.
Add the maple syrup and the cornmeal and stir well. Add the salt and the all-purpose flour, half a cup at a time, until the dough has formed a shaggy mass. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter.
Knead the dough, and add more flour as necessary, until the dough is no longer sticky. This dough should be tacky, and it won’t be smooth, because of the high amount of corn that’s in the loaf. Place the dough in a bowl and pour 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on the dough. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and put in a warm place. This dough needs to rest for 1 1/2 to 2 hours; it won’t double in bulk.
Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it on a lightly floured counter for a minute or two. Divide the dough into three loaves and form each into a round shape.
Place the loaves on sheet pans that have been lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal or semolina flour. This is a great loaf to practice with if you like to use a baker’s peel and baking stones. The loaf is dense and won’t deflate when you transfer it to the oven. Cover the loaves with a damp towel and let rest for 35-40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle the loaves with flour and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Yield: 3 loaves -- approximately 15 slices per loaf.
Nutrition information per serving (1 slice, 45 g): 71 cal, 1 g fat, 2 g protein, 13 g complex carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 1 g dietary fiber, 144 mg sodium, 42 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 19 mg calcium, 32 mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 9, November 1992 issue.