Monday, June 7, 2010

Polenta Bread



You really can't go wrong with this bread.  It is simple, both in it's creation and in it's flavor.  If you are scared of making bread on your own, this would be a great recipe to start with.  There is really hardly any work involved, just be sure to allow time for one 45 minute-to an hour rise time.  

The polenta flavor in this bread is so subtle and sweet.  It is just a hint, like something you can almost put your finger on.  The crumb is light and the crust is slightly harder than the crumb, but just barely.  The bread is a great addition to a simple meal of salad, or as a snack after work.  Try it lightly toasted with softened butter on top and a tiny bit of honey.  It will melt in your mouth.  

Polenta Bread
Recipe from Taste and Tell

2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup polenta (or cornmeal)
2 teaspoons salt
6 1/2 cups bread flour

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water (around 100 degrees, or slightly warmer than room temperature).  Let mixture sit until it bubbles slightly on top to show that the yeast has activated. 
 
Combine polenta, salt and bread flour in mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook. Add olive oil and yeast mixture and mix well. Knead dough with dough hook for 8 to 12 minutes (the temperature of your kitchen will make the difference in the timing.) You know that the dough has been mixed enough when it clears the sides of the bowl and all ingredients are incorporated. Turn off mixer and let dough rest for 1 minute in bowl.

Divide dough into thirds and shape into loaves. Place on greased cookie sheets. Cover dough and allow it to rise until the loaves have doubled in size. This took 45 minutes for me. You know that your dough has doubled when you lightly press it with your finger and the dough springs back, but not all of the way-a slight indent will remain. 

Bake for about 30 minutes at 300F. 

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