Corn in general gets a bad rap in the culinary world - it's the butt of "seniors" jokes, the pallid, over-processed, out of season cobs in the store, the ubiquitous creator of dishes named "mush" and of course the base of muffins and breads that all too often are either sandpapery-dry or drenched with butter or bacon grease. Not that there's anything wrong with some butter or bacon grease, mind you. But it's true that it's almost impossible to dig the grain out of it's carby hole - which goes double if you've been following the whole HFCS thing, and triple if you're an Atkins fan.
But corn - and more importantly cornbread, can be good! Heck, it can even be great - moist without being oily, textured without grittiness, and the perfect balance of sweet and savoury "bready" flavours. I've adopted the habit of adding a touch of cornmeal to my yeast doughs, which not only add a hint of crunch (and make for beautiful toast!) but a buttery golden colour too. For this particular loaf of bread, I added a second corn element with some toasted corn germ that I found at the local Bulk Barn. Then I played off the subtly sweet, nutty mix of the two "corns" with a drizzle of local honey, and studded the works with plump dark raisins. I didn't even think to break out the sourdough starter for this one, though perhaps I should have (it needs a workout!). No matter, though - a nice, long overnight rest in the fridge helped give it a bit of character nonetheless!
If you're worried about the loaf being dry at all (really, you shouldn't be, but hey who am I to be your brain?) the secret to a decadent, meltingly soft crust is to brush some good old fashioned melted butter on the thing while it's still piping hot and in the pan. And about the pan - keep it in there for a good half hour to cool instead of turning it out right away. But I warn you - you'll be ripping into the loaf with your bare hands that way rather than slicing it for toast. Either way, I hope you enjoy this week's submission to Susan's YeastSpotting event at WildYeast!
Honeyed-Raisin Corn Bread
Makes 1 loaf, 16 slices
1/2 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
3 tbsp honey
1 cup warm, 1% milk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup corn germ
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
- In a large bowl or bottom of a standing mixer, stir together warm water, yeast and 1 tbsp of honey. Set aside to let foam for 10 minutes.
- Add remaining honey and milk, mixing well.
- Stir in flours, corn germ, corn meal and gluten.
- Knead for 10 minutes, then add salt and knead for 3 minutes longer.
- Place into an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for 1 hour.
- Deflate dough and gently knead in plumped raisins.
- Re-cover and allow to rest 15 minutes.
- Shape dough into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan.
- Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350F and remove loaf from the fridge 1 hour before baking.
- Bake loaf 45 minutes, covering the top lightly with foil after 30 minutes.
- Unmould immediately onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.8 mg
Sodium: 10.1 mg
Total Carbs: 32.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 4.9 g