Crusty Cornstalk Rolls

The last baked good I made in the US was this bread. I made it to give away, which makes it all the more embarrassing that I didn’t read quite close enough and put in way too much yeast, so what was supposed to be a cool shaped bread is kind of a big bloated poof. Oops. Still had an excellent crispy crust on the outside, though, making it worth trying again (someday, when my Greek kitchen has more than an apple and a box of cereal in it).

If you use the amount of yeast listed in the recipe, your bread should be shaped like a stalk of corn, with the ears off on each side.

IMG_7926Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon mild honey or sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons stone-ground yellow cornmeal, divided

Stir the yeast and honey into 1/4 cup of the water in a large mixing bowl and let rest until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining water and the flour, salt, and 1/2 cup of the cornmeal. You can either stir together and then turn out and knead 6-8 minutes, or go the lazy route and let your stand mixer get it all together with the dough hook.

IMG_7917Form the dough into a ball and put in a large greased bowl, turning to coat the ball all over in grease. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (I let it rise about an hour, refrigerated overnight, then let come back to room temp in the morning.)

Punch down the dough to deflate it.

IMG_7918Fold in thirds like a letter.

IMG_7919Roll the dough into a 12″ long log. You can flour your hands to do this, if necessary, but the dough didn’t stick to me at all at this point, thanks to the baking spray it had been rolled in earlier.

IMG_7920Sprinkle a baking sheet with the remaining 2 tablespoons cornmeal and put the dough diagonally across it.

Make diagonal cuts into the log of dough on alternating sides, about 1 1/2″ apart, not cutting all the way through the center.

IMG_7921Gently pull the dough apart, stretching it lengthwise and separating the individual pieces, without actually pulling them entirely off. (I cut one nub off so I could taste it without cutting the finished bread I was giving away.)

IMG_7922Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, another 1 – 1 1/2 hours. During that time, preheat your oven to 425 degrees, with a pizza stone in it if you have one.

IMG_7924Mist the top of the bread with water. Transfer the dough to the preheated pizza stone, if using, or just put the pan in the oven. Spray water in the oven several times during the first 5 minutes of baking, or throw a few ice cubes into the oven to create steam. I went with the ice cubes, since a) I don’t have a spray bottle, and b) I was under the impression you’re generally not supposed to open the oven during the first chunk of time with baked goods.

Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

IMG_7925Transfer to a wire rack to cool at least 20 minutes. For best texture, eat the day you made it.

Crusty Cornstalk Rolls

From Bread Experience.

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon mild honey or sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons stone-ground yellow cornmeal, divided

Stir the yeast and honey into 1/4 cup of the water in a large mixing bowl and let rest until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining water and the flour, salt, and 1/2 cup of the cornmeal. You can either stir together and then turn out and knead 6-8 minutes, or let your stand mixer get knead it all together with the dough hook.

Form the dough into a ball and put in a large greased bowl, turning to coat the ball all over in grease. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch down the dough to deflate it, and fold in thirds like a letter. Roll the dough into a 12″ long log. Flouring your hands if necessary.

Sprinkle a baking sheet with the remaining 2 tablespoons cornmeal and put the dough diagonally across it. Make diagonal cuts into the log of dough on alternating sides, about 1 1/2″ apart, not cutting all the way through the center. Gently pull the dough apart, stretching it lengthwise and separating the individual pieces, without actually pulling them entirely off.

Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, another 1 – 1 1/2 hours. During that time, preheat your oven to 425 degrees, with a pizza stone in it if you have one.

Transfer the dough to the preheated pizza stone, if using, or just put the pan in the oven and throw a few ice cubes into the oven to create steam. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool at least 20 minutes. For best texture, eat the day you made it.

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About sparecake

My name's Corinne, and I like cake, cookies, and chocolate! Also, non-c-things such as ponies, Star Trek, and biking. I write a food blog and a blog about life, wide open spaces, and museum work. Nice to meet you!
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