This corn bread recipe is based on a classic combination of cornmeal and molasses, and is perfect at Thanksgiving or served with a hearty stew.
The corn bread recipe presented here is excerpted from the new book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables and Gluten-free Ingredients (Thomas Dunne Books, 2009). This is the much-anticipated sequel to the wildly popular Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking , which taught us how to craft delicious and crusty artisan bread with just a few minutes of work. We brought you that basic technique in our article Five Minutes a Day for Fresh-baked Bread . Now you’ll be able to use the no-knead storage dough method with even healthier recipes. To order either of the fabulous cookbooks (and get a bunch more yummy-but-easy recipes!), visit MOTHER EARTH NEWS Shopping . If you have questions about these recipes, please post them to the comments section at the end of this article, and the baking experts at King Arthur Flour will answer them.
Pretty much every traditional American cookbook contains a recipe for this bread, a Native American-inspired loaf sweetened with molasses. This loaf spreads and bakes flatter than most corn breads.
Molasses is an unrefined sweetener that imparts much more flavor complexity than white sugar. There are bitter and caramel notes to savor, and it beautifully rounds out the rough edges in the whole wheat flour.
This recipe makes enough dough for four 1-pound loaves, and can be doubled or halved.
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 1⁄4 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp (2 packets) granulated yeast
1 tbsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
3 1/2cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup molasses
Whisk together the cornmeal, wheat germ, flours, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
Combine the water and molasses, and mix them with the dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a food processor (with dough attachment) or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). You may need to get your hands wet to get the last bit of flour incorporated if you’re not using a machine.
Cover (not airtight), and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate it in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next week.
On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
Allow the loaf to rest for 90 minutes (40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough), covered loosely with plastic wrap, on a pizza peel prepared with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper. Alternatively, you can let the loaf rest on a silicone mat or greased cookie sheet.
Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray on any other rack that won’t interfere with the rising bread.
Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top crust with water. Using a serrated knife, slash the loaf with quarter-inch-deep parallel cuts.
Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone (or place the silicone mat or cookie sheet on the stone). Pour a cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes, until richly browned and firm. If you used parchment paper, a silicone mat or a cookie sheet under the loaf, carefully peel it off two-thirds of the way through baking. (Smaller or larger loaves will require some adjustments in resting and baking time.)
Allow the bread to cool on a rack before slicing.
Visit healthybreadinfive.com to find instructional text, photographs, videos and a community of other five-minutes-a-day bakers. Our website is interactive; we answer your questions ourselves. Happy baking, and enjoy all the bread!
Check out No-Knead Healthy Bread Recipes for bread baking tips, ideas and nutritional information.
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