Spring Flowers and Bees

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Artisan Baking - Hi-Rise's Corn Bread

I know, I know.... I promised you to share my cornbread as soon as they popped out of the oven. It has been well over two days now and I am just starting to report my artisan baking adventure :p

Baking an artisan bread is truly rewarding. All the hardwork (I mean as in kneading the dough all by hand) and the waiting time truly paid off!

Oh only if you could smell my kitchen as the stone-ground cornmeal and fresh corn kernels were intermingling with the wonderful dough of mine. It was such a pleasure watching them get golden in the oven that I am posting the pictures of them while still in my electric oven. Even though it was two days ago, let's pretend that it's happening right here right now ;)

In this dough, you will find fresh ingredients such as corn kernels, honey, and freshly-ground white cornmeal. And just as described in her book, Maggie Glezer said "This wonderful yellow pan-bread repletes with fresh corn kernels and cornmeal." Later on, you will find a technique in shaping a loaf. Now, everyone can do artisan baking in their very home kitchen!

Why yellow pan-bread? Because this bread is proofed in a loaf pan :) However, since I only own one loaf pan, I shaped the other half of the dough into a Boule (or miche or round loaf). Also, this time I used a newly-packed unbleached strong white wheat flour I got directly from Rube's in the afternoon. I was so excited and thrilled with the anticipation of one successful bread, in shape and and in taste :) I just couldn't wait.

This loaf took me approximately 7 hours. That was the very reason why I slept at three o'clock in the morning that night and totally ruined my biological clock!

Hi-Rise's Corn Bread

Cornbread - loaf style

1 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 cup water, lukewarm

Combine the flour and yeast is a large bowl, then beat in water. This will be a very gloppy batter. Cover the poolish tightly with plastic wrap and let it ferment until it is very bubbly and well risen, about 2 hours. (Mine was not that bubbly, and it still turned out nice)

2/3 cup water, lukewarm
Fermented poolish
2 1/1 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cups plus 2 tablespoons stone-ground yellow of (preferably) white cornmeal
app. 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (1 large ear)
2 large (plus 1 for the glaze) eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt

Cornbread - ingredients

Combine the flour, cornmeal, and corn in a large bowl. Add the watered poolish, 2 of the eggs, the honey, and oil. Stir the mixture with your hand until it forms a rough dough. Turn it out onto your work surface and knead it, without adding flour and using dough scraper to help (you are crushing the corn kernels into the dough as you knead). When the dough is soft and sticky, add the salt. Knead until the salt is dissolved and the dough is tighter and very smooth, about 2 minutes.
This is a soft and sticky dough.

Fermenting the dough:
Place the dough in a container at least 3 times its size and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment until it is light, well expanded, and doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Shaping and proofing the dough:
Generously butter two 9 x 5-inch baking pans. The the fermented dough in half. *this is where the loaf-rolling technique starts* Using a rolling pin and plenty of extra flour for dusting this sticky dough, gently roll out one piece about 1/4 inch thick, pressing our all bubbles. For the sides of the dough into the center, letting them overlap by 1 inch or so. Roll out the dough again so that it is as wide from folded edge to folded edge as your baking pan. Moisten your hands with water and lightly pat the dough so that it is just slightly tacky. Now roll the dough up like a carpet, keeping the folded ends on either side. Pinch the seam to seal it and lay the cylinder seam side down in one of the prepared pans. The cylinder should fit length-wise but should not touch the sides of the pan. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Cover the loaves tightly with plastic wrap and let them proof until risen 1 inch above the pans, about 2 hours.

Cornbread - Dough on a pan

Preheating the oven:
About 30 minutes before the breads are fully proofed, arrange a rack on the oven's bottom shelf and clear away all racks above the one being used. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Baking the bread:

Cornbread Duo - Halfway done

Beat the remaining egg until blended and brush the tops of the loaves with it. Bake the breads until well browned, about 50 to 60 minutes, rotating them halfway into the bake. Remove the breads from the pans and let them cool on a rack.

... I am so tired after typing the whole content of this corn bread recipe. I am exhausted, but hey, I have pictures for you to enjoy, right?

*update* As in texture, this loaf didn't quite achieve the end result that I had expected, white, creamy and dense. Instead, this bread is light, yellow, and a little bit on the dry side. Almost like the characteristics of a Dempsters bread, only drier. I didn't get the texture that I wanted only because I haven't found the right recipe. To enjoy them, simply spread a thin layer of butter or margarine and toast. The simplest way is always the best. The toasting brings out the very filling flavor of corn and the butter adds savory-ness. Yummm...


Anonymous aeons said...

The first pic is amazing

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:19 PM  
Blogger Typical INgredients said...

Hi Strawberry,

You did a great job!

I made my milk bread last night and it's quit overwhelming but it pays off afterward...

I will try and make your corn bread one of this days...Have a nice weeekend!


3:14 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Oh Strawberry -- it looks so good! I'm enjoying reading your adventures.


8:52 PM  
Blogger strawberry said...

Jasmine - thank you!

ALL of your comments mean a lot to me! I mean ALL of you READERS!

10:40 PM  
Blogger mg said...

Oh my! This cornbread looks devine!!! Mmmm i can imagine it tasting so good too - dunked in thick soup, oh yum.

You are becoming a pro in Artisan baking...

Please send me that bread! hihi. I'll try and make some - someday...

11:29 AM  

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