Posts Tagged ‘quick bread’

BBA #10 Cornbread

This week for the Bread Baker’s Challenge  we tackle Cornbread. The vast majority of the breads in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice are yeasted breads except for this recipe which is more of a “quick” bread. Quick breads use chemical levening agents (i.e.,  baking powder and baking soda)  instead of yeast. While this may be a departure from the rest of the book, Peter Reinhard explains his reasoning  for including this recipe because “it is the best cornbread ever.” Sounds like a good enough reason to me! For sure this was a very different type of cornbread than I had ever tried, but since I’m a fan in general I was happy to give PR’s a shot. Was I ever glad that I did!

Funnily enough, for a “quick” bread this recipe was one of the more labor intensive that I have made to date, with most of the time going for preparation of the ingredients. However, once everything was prepped, I just mixed everything together and popped it in the oven to bake. 

The night before I planned to bake this bread I started the soaker:

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Buttermilk and polenta

I took the buttermilk and the polenta and combined them in a bowl. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and set it on the counter for the night. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, life got in the way and it was almost 36 hours later that I was able to start baking. I was a little concerned about the soaker, it was supposed to sit on the counter for only about 12 hours but once I gave it a stir it looked fine so I went ahead and used it.

The line up

The line up

The recipe called for the following ingredients: Fresh corn, the polenta-buttermilk soaker, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, all-purpose unbleached flour (I only had bleached on hand), butter, eggs, brown sugar and bacon.

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And honey…which somehow got left out of the photo.

Once I had every thing assembled, I started prepping the bacon so it could cook while I set up my mise-en-place.

I measured out about 10 oz of bacon, placed the slices on a rack and put them in the oven on 350 degrees.

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Once I got the bacon in the oven, I shucked the corn and removed the kernels from the cob. I was very excited about the fresh corn in this recipe and was so happy that the “baking order” fell into corn season! Wahoo! I took a knife and ran it down the cobs- sawing as needed.

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In the end it took almost 4 ears of corn to get to 16oz, and boy was it messy! I had corn juice splattered all over the kitchen, but it was so worth it. The corn was fresh and sweet and I knew it was going to be great baked into the bread.

I quickly gave the kitchen a once-over with a sponge and checked the bacon in the oven. A little while to go still so I turned the temp to 400 degrees.

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Here is my mise-en-place

Following the directions in the recipe, I started combining ingredients together in several bowls. The Kitchen Aid got to take a rest this week.

The dry ingredients (flour, salt,  baking soda, and baking powder) were mixed together first.

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Next I added the brown sugar and white sugar and mixed with my whisk until the brown sugar was incorporated evenly.

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 About this time the bacon was finally ready so I laid the strips out on a few paper towels to cool.

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 I drained the leftover bacon grease and used it to grease the cups of my cup cake pan since I wanted to make easy to serve portions of this bread.

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 Next I melted the butter in the microwave and then added the honey. Honey butter anyone? Heaven on earth if you want my opinion.

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 Next, I added the buttermilk-polenta soaker and the honey butter to the dry ingredients and whisked to blend.

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 Lastly, I added the 16oz of fresh corn and mixed just enough to make sure every kernel was coated in batter.

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 I roughly chopped the bacon to top the corn muffins.

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 As evenly as possible I filled the muffin tins…I wasn’t sure how much they were going to rise once they went in the oven so I gave each a little room just to be safe.

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 Into the oven they went at 350 degrees, for almost 30 minutes, the house sure smelled amazing!

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I let them cool for a few minutes and then tried to turn them out onto cooling racks – but the bacon grease didn’t help all that much and I had to loosen the sides with a knife. Some the muffins didn’t make it wholly intact, but eh’, next time I’d use butter and flour to grease the pan.

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I wrapped these little guys up and took them into work, they were very tasty – loved the corn bits inside. Next time I’ll tone down the sugar a little but they were quite addicting and it was very difficult to stop eating them.

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The texture inside was intersting. I am used to a “johnnycake” style of cornbread so I found this to be much more moist. These were rich, flavorful and hearty bites!

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 You can be certain that the next time I make a big bowl of chili these will definitely be served along side!

Next up in the Bread Baker’s Challenge: Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread!

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