Corn Bread

This is a little different from my normal posts, but when we had a meal of slow cooked pork and it suggested serving with corn bread I thought it would be a good excuse to try out a new recipe.

This recipe is based on the one in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I’ve left out the crispy bacon, as I thought it would probably be overkill with the slow cooked pork, but it would make a good addition. I also halved the original recipe, and have adjusted the amount of sugar and fat: I’ve found that with some of Reinhart’s recipes my tooth isn’t quite as sweet as his.

 

The polenta and buttermilk soaker, made the night before
 
 
The final mix is the consistency of a thick pancake batter
 
The corn bread is delicious- the perfect accompaniment to this rich and sticky pork dish. It is surprisingly light, and the combination of the corn, polenta, and buttermilk gives it a sweetness of its own that I believe too much added sugar and honey would overpower. 

  
Corn Bread – makes one bread, to serve two

  • 150g polenta
  • 240g buttermilk
  • 120g plain flour
  • 10g baking powder 
  • 5g salt
  • 20g granulated sugar
  • 20g brown sugar
  • 2 small eggs, lightly whisked
  • 20g honey
  • 15g butter, melted
  • 240g sweet corn, frozen
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. The night before baking, mix the buttermilk and polenta to make a “soaker”. Cover and leave at room temperature.
  2. The day of baking, preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients, except the oil, in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the oil in a 6in frying pan until very hot. Pour in the batter and swirl around to cover the pan.
  4. Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. If it is browning too much on top, cover loosely with foil. 
  5. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before slicing.

  

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The weekday fruit loaf

Building on my recipe for making sourdough during the week, this post is about applying that method to a spiced fruit loaf, with raisins and sultanas. There’s something very satisfying about being able to get home from work, through this loaf in the oven, and have fresh fruit bread ready for breakfast the next morning. 

  

If you’re an early riser, you could even leave the dough overnight in the fridge after shaping and bake in the morning, just remember it needs about an hour on a wire rack to cool before slicing…

  

Mixed Spice

  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg 
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 

Weekday fruit loaf – makes one loaf

  • 15g mixed spice (above)
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 330g water
  • 45g white starter 
  • 80g sultanas
  • 80g raisins
  1. For full timings see the previous post about baking sourdough on a week night.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients, including the fruit, in a large bowl. Mix well and autolyse for 15 minutes.
  3. Stretch/fold the dough, rest for 15 minutes, and repeat this step another 4 times.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Bulk ferment at room temperature overnight.
  5. Shape the dough into a boule, rest for 15 minutes, then reshape. Do this a couple of times then place into a well floured banneton.
  6. Proof either at room temperature for 3 hours, or in a plastic bag in the fridge for 8 hours. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 230C with a cast-iron lidded pot (Dutch oven) on the middle shelf. 
  8. Turn dough out onto a floured peel, slash, and carefully place into the preheated Dutch oven. Bake for 15 minutes with the lid on, and 15 with the lid off.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.

Cinnamon Swirl Fruit Loaf

This is just a quick post with one of my favourite fruit loaves – a cinnamon, sultana, and walnut fruit loaf with a swirl of cinnamon sugar through the middle. Using plain (all-purpose) flour gives the loaf a flakier, more crumbly texture than strong bread flour, making this loaf somewhere between a loaf and a cake. It’s also great toasted with fruit jam.

cinnamon_swirl_fruit_loaf
A light, flaky fruit loaf with a swirl of cinnamon sugar through the centre.

Cinnamon Swirl Fruit Loaf – makes 2 loaves

  • 450g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 20g white sugar
  • 9g salt
  • 6g instant yeast
  • 5g ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 30g butter at room temperature
  • 110g whole milk at room temperature
  • 170g water at room temperature
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g currants
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • Additional 1/4 cup of white sugar plus 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, combined
  • Poppy seeds, optional
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the fruit, walnuts, and cinnamon/sugar mix in the bowl of a mixer or in a large bowl.
  2. If kneading by hand, combine the ingredients, then turn the dough onto the counter and knead for 10 minutes.
  3. If using a mixer, combine the ingredients with the paddle attachment on a slow speed, then knead for several minutes with the dough hook until the dough is elastic. Turn out onto the counter.
  4. Spread the dough out and pour over the sultanas, currants, and walnuts. Knead for another 2 minutes by hand to combine the extra ingredients. Shape the dough into a rough ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and bulk ferment for approximately 2 hours, or until doubled.
  5. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape into balls. Rest for 5 minutes. Gently press the dough into a rectangle, working with one piece at a time. Spread the cinnamon/sugar mix over the dough, and roll it up to create the swirl (see photo below). Pinch the seam together, shaping for a loaf tin.
  6. If using, roll the loaves in poppy seeds. Place into greased loaf tins (8.5 x 4.5 inch). Dust the tops with flour or mist with spray oil. Cover loosely with cling film. Proof for 1-1.5 hours until risen about an inch over the lip of the loaf tin.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180˚C with the rack on the middle shelf.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pans half way through.
  9. Remove to a wire rack and cool for at least an hour before slicing.
cinnamon_dough
The dough, covered in cinnamon sugar, read to roll into a loaf