This is an easy bread to make for your holiday festivities and it tastes great too! It goes well w/ roasted turkey, vegetables, pasta or whatever you’re cooking up. The cornmeal adds a nice texture and flavor to ordinary rolls or a boule. I like to slice the boule, wrap it, then put it in the freezer. That way it stays fresh and is readily available when I need a couple of pieces of bread to toast.
Cornmeal Bread 2 Ways:
1 cup cornmeal
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
additional cornmeal for dusting pizza peel
1) Place yeast in a large bowl and pour 1/4 cup tepid water over the yeast; let sit until it becomes foamy (about 5 minutes)
2) In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal and salt
3) Add olive oil and remaining 1 1/4 cups tepid water to the yeast
4) Slowly add the flour mixture to the yeast while using your free hand to incorporate it w/ the yeast
5) Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes (add more flour a little bit at a time if dough is too sticky)
6) Form dough into a ball and place back into the large bowl (dust the bottom of the bowl w/ flour before placing dough into it); dust top of dough ball w/ flour and cover bowl w/ plastic wrap (I use a shower cap that I got from a hotel – it fits snugly over the bowl)
7) Let dough ferment (i.e., first rise) for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature (if your kitchen is too cold, place bowl in unlit oven w/ the light on – the temperature is usually 70 degrees F. During the winter months, let dough rise for 1 3/4 hours). The dough should have at least doubled in size when ready to shape
8) Remove dough from bowl, split in half, then form half the dough into a ball (boule) shape, split the rest of the dough in half and form 2 small round rolls, then dust tops w/ flour, cover w/ plastic and let rise for 45 minutes (1 hour during winter months)
9) Meanwhile, preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees F
10) When second rise is complete, slash top of boule and rolls w/ a serrated knife
11) Slide boule and rolls onto pizza stone, then mist sides of oven w/ water (I use a spray bottle) and quickly close oven door. For the first 2 1/2 minutes of baking mist the sides of the oven every 30 seconds – this delays crust formation and allows the bread to rise rapidly and evenly
12) After 10 minutes, rotate rolls front to back for even baking and bake for 10 additional minutes. Remove rolls from oven, tap the bottoms; if it makes a hollow sound they’re ready. Leave boule in at 450 degrees for 10 more minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F, rotate boule front to back and bake for 10 additional minutes. Tap bottom as you did w/ rolls to determine readiness.
13) Allow bread to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing
Yield: 1 small boule and 2 rolls (or make one large boule or 4 rolls if you’d like)
It’s gotten cold and snowy here in St. Louis so I’m enjoying baking because it warms up the house. Having fresh, homemade bread around is an added bonus!