The amount of flour required here is more open-ended than other recipes because of a few variables in making this bread. Depending on how long the cornmeal is left to absorb the water, you will need more or less flour for kneading.
Yields 2 loaves
Recipe courtesy of Simon Thibault, Pantry and Palate
- 3/4 cup (177 ml) cornmeal, plus 1 tbsp for dusting
- 2 tsp (10 ml) sugar
- 3 tsp (15 ml) lard or vegetable shortening
- 2 cups (500 ml) boiling water
- 1/3 cup (78 ml) room temperature water
- 2 tsp (10 ml) yeast
- 1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
- 2 tsp (10 ml) salt
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) molasses
- 4 to 5 cups (1000 ml to 1250 ml) flour, plus 1 tbsp (15 ml) for dusting
- Mix cornmeal, sugar, and lard. Add the boiling water and mix thoroughly to eliminate any lumps. Cool for about 45 minutes.
- Cornmeal will expand and look somewhat like porridge. Ensure the porridge is cool enough for yeast to activate. Too hot can kill yeast.
- In room-temperature water, thoroughly mix yeast and baking soda. Add to cornmeal porridge, then add salt and molasses. Mix until well blended.
- Stir in flour 1 cup (250 ml) at a time, incorporate completely before adding more. After incorporating third cup flour, dough should start to come together, pulling away from bowl sides.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface, and dust with more flour to start kneading.
- With flour-dusted hands, gather the dough into large ball and knead. Dough will be slightly tacky at first.
- Keep adding small amounts of flour as you knead it. Dough will become smooth and not tacky, and will feel taut and less elastic as you knead.
- Place dough in a clean bowl, cover with cling film, and allow to rest for about 45 minutes. Take dough out and knead gently for about 1 minute. It will feel very elastic compared to prior kneading.
- Place back in bowl to rise for about 1 hour.
- Grease pans with lard, and dust with 1 tbsp (10 ml) flour and 1 tsp (5 ml) cornmeal. Remove dough from bowl, cut in half.
- Gently pinch dough ends to shape loaf. Place each loaf in greased and floured loaf pan. Allow to rise for another hour.
- Preheat your oven to 204°C (400°F). Place bread into oven and bake 1 hour.
- Remove bread from the oven and remove loaves from pans.
- Bread should sound hollow when tapped on bottom. If not, return to oven for 10 minutes, without loaf pan.
- Allow bread to cool for at least 1 hour before cutting.