Chef Johns Rustic Italian Corn Bread

I was speaking with my mother, Pauline, last week, and she told me about a bread she used to eat at her grandmother’s house. She said it was basic Italian bread, but had some cornmeal in it, and was one of her favorites. I love to play food detective, so I took her description and went to work. I believe this is pretty close to what she remembers, and even if it’s a bit off, it was still delicious.



Step: 1

Stir warm water, 1/2 cup bread flour, yeast, and sugar together in a bowl. Let stand until the yeast softens and forms a creamy mixture, about 40 minutes.

Step: 2

Mix 1/2 cup cornmeal, olive oil, and salt into yeast mixture. Gradually add bread flour to yeast mixture until a dough pulls together.

Step: 3

Knead dough on a lightly floured work surface until smooth and elastic, 10 to 12 minutes. Place dough in a large, lightly-oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Step: 4

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 14-inch wide rectangle. Roll dough, starting from the long-end, into a loaf, finishing seam-side down.

Step: 5

Dust a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon cornmeal. Place loaf on baking sheet, cover with a dry towel, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Step: 6

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place a shallow pan of water on the lower rack of the oven.

Step: 7

Cut a 1/2-inch deep slash down the center of the loaf.

Step: 8

Bake in preheated oven until the top is golden brown and the bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


Per Serving: 103 calories; protein 2.1g; carbohydrates 13.3g; fat 4.7g; sodium 440.4mg.

The quality of the flour could make a real difference to your bread. Different makers do vary. Extra-strong or Canadian flours, which are bet higher in gluten, may give you a best rise than standard bread flours – especially if you’re make wholemeal bread , which not always rise as well as clear bread.

To make this in a breadmaker , add all the menus to your breadmaker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

A bread first rising can be make in the fridge overnight . This slows down the time it takes to rise to double its size, giving it a deeper flavour. It’s also a great timesaver , as you can work it night before , then clear it off the next day.

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