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.

Sourdough Pancakes

Recently I’ve made several recipes – like this sourdough ciabatta – where I have converted my rye starter to a white flour starter, and then used that to make a second “firm starter”. The firm starter method works really well, and I will continue using it for a while, but it does have one side effect. In order to convert the starter and get enough of it to use in the recipes, I have to use a larger amount of flour and water than usual, and it leaves me with left over starter.

sourdough_pancakes
Light and fluffy pancakes, with a slight sourdough flavour.

Many sourdough recipes will tell you to discard half of the starter when refreshing daily. I’ve never really seen the value of that. With careful planning, and using a strong rye starter, you can usually make exactly the right amount and not have to waste any. Being frugal (or cheap…) I can’t stand wasting ingredients. Because converting to white starter creates a surplus, I needed a way to use it all up.

Enter the sourdough pancake. We often have pancakes for breakfast on a Sunday morning, but I had never had sourdough starter left over before to use in the recipe. After the first time, however, we were converted (bad bread pun). Last weekend, I actually deliberately made too much starter so that I had an excuse for making these pancakes… They are partially leavened by baking powder, and partially by the already active starter, so they are light, fluffy, and have a hint of the sourdough flavour.

Sourdough pancakes – serves 4 (6 pancakes each)

  • 160g plain flour
  • 7g salt
  • 9g baking powder
  • 40g sugar
  • 150g milk
  • 350g white starter @ 130% hydration
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to a low temperature and place plates inside to keep warm.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together in a large bowl.
  3. Combine the milk, starter, and eggs in a separate bowl and whisk together.
  4. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry to make a thick batter (see photo, below).
  5. Heat a large heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium heat and brush lightly with butter.
  6. Using a large serving spoon, spoon out the batter into the frying pan. I make four pancakes at a time (see photo, below). Wait until bubbles appear on the surface of the dough, then turn with a spatula. Cook until browned, then remove to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  7. Serve immediately with your choice of maple syrup, jam, lemon and sugar (or all of them…)
sourdough_batter
The batter is slightly thicker than a normal pancake batter.
pancakes_cooking
Cook on one side until bubbles start to appear all over, and then carefully flip