Today is really beyond normal cold. We’re under a gale warning, making the wind chill a real factor in determining how cold it feels. Trying to be good humored about this. Our current conditions are temporary. The snow will melt. The sun will shine. The back hall won’t be full of boots dripping water on the floor. I do pretty well with the positive thinking thing until I hear the forecast for next week. Then I start picturing the gods lined up on Mount Olympus throwing snowballs and laughing at us.
Kneading bread is therapeutic, and the end result is worth the effort involved, so it seemed like a good thing to do today. I had some stone ground cornmeal on hand, so I went on a search for yeast bread recipes that included cornmeal as a main ingredient. I ended up combining ideas from a number of sources, and I was really happy with the results. I have a feeling that this bread will make exceptionally good toast.
Cornmeal Yeast Bread
1 package (or 1 TBS) yeast
1/4 C warm water
1 1/2 C warm *buttermilk
*(Or milk with about a tablespoon of lemon juice. Let sit for 10 minutes.)
2 TBS canola oil
1/3 C sugar
1 TBS salt
1 egg, beaten
1 C cornmeal
4 to 5 C all-purpose flour
1. Proof the yeast in the warm water. Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar to feed the yeast.
2. Combine the buttermilk, oil, sugar, and egg.
3. Mix the cornmeal and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture and the yeast and beat together well.
4. Start adding the flour, half cup at a time, until you have a relatively stiff dough.
5. At this point, you can either knead by hand or use the dough hook on a Kitchen Aid mixer. Knead until the dough is smooth and springs back when you touch it. Add extra flour a tiny bit at a time. You want a soft dough.
6. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a buttered bowl. Turn it over a few times to grease all sides. Cover loosely and let rise until doubled. About 1 1/2 hours. Closed microwave is great for this.
7. Once the dough has risen, deflate the dough and form it into two round loaves. Place them on a parchment covered sheet pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. About 45-60 minutes.
8. Bake in a 375 oven for 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
There’s never a bad day for homemade bread, but it’s a definite day brightener during weather like this. The smell alone is worth a smile.