© ejmorris 2000,2001,2002,2004
Ingredients makes 1 loaf
1½ c cornmeal
3 Tbsp olive oil
1½ c boiling water
¼ c lukewarm water
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp of honey (optional)
½ c water
3 - 3½ c unbleached allpurpose flour
1¾ tsp salt
- Put the cornmeal (coarsely ground meal from dried corn aka maize) and oil into a large mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and stir well. Set aside to cool until just warm.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in ¼ c of lukewarm water (I added about 1 tsp of honey). Stir the dissolved yeast into the cooled cornmeal mixture and blend well. Stir in ½ c water and add all but ½ c of the flour, blending well to form a dough. You don't have to add all the flour. You know it's enough when the dough comes away from the side of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic and let sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured board (use some of the last ½ c of flour). Sprinkle the salt overtop the dough. Wash and dry the mixing bowl. Adding as little extra flour as possible, knead for 10 or 15 minutes. The dough may be rather sticky. If necessary, sprinkle a little flour to form dough into a ball. Put it in the clean bowl; cover it with a damp cloth; let rise in a no draught place for about an hour, until it has doubled in size. Then, deflate dough, knead for about 5 minutes. Return it to bowl, cover it, let it rise until doubled again. Knead once more for a minute or two. Form the dough into one long log (or two small ones). Place on a cornmealed pan. Cover and let rise for about 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Thirty minutes before you are going to bake, turn oven to 400F. Put water into a broiling pan and place it on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Optional step: Slash the top(s) with a very sharp knife at an almost horizontal angle. Do this only if the bread has risen to almost half. If it has risen higher, the bread has a tendency to fall if slashed.
- Spray the bread liberally with water. Bake the bread on the second lowest rack at 350F for 45 to 50 minutes or until it is hollow sounding on the bottom.
- Turn off the oven. Put the finished bread back in the oven and leave with the door ajar for 5 or 10 minutes. Remove to cool on cooling racks. Wait til the bread is cool before cutting it.
adapted from a recipe in SUNDAYS AT MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT by the Moosewood Collective published by Simon&Schuster/Fireside 1990
If there is any bread left the next day, it makes terrific Stovetop Dressing (stuffing) and is also excellent sliced thinly and grilled on the barbecue. Spray the grilled bread with olive oil and lay grilled meat on top.
Uneaten bread should be stored at room temperature rather than refrigerated. (the refrigerator causes the bread to go stale faster) Bread can also be stored in the freezer - double bagged airtight plastic. Take it out of the freezer and leave it in the bag until the bread has thawed. To reheat the bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the oven for ten minutes.