Wednesday Baking | Cornmeal Loaves

Every now and then, I share a baking recipe with you on Wednesdays. And lots of pictures of said baking recipe. I don’t call this Wednesday Baking because I bake solely on Wednesdays…no, my oven gets a workout much more frequently than once a week! All the past baking posts are archived in the Wednesday Baking category.

This is bread, and it’s made with cornmeal, but it’s not cornbread.

No, this is a yeasted bread, and it’s quite different from the baking-powder-leavened variety. I think it’s a nice change of pace when you’re serving a meal that seems to call for cornbread (like maybe Tortilla Soup).

The dough is fairly sweet and it contains milk and two eggs, so the texture is soft, sort of like a sweet bread dough is. Except this isn’t officially a sweet bread, so you can totally eat it at dinnertime. ;)

Like most of my favorite bread recipes, this one starts with flour and yeast in the mixer bowl.

Next, combine the milk, salt, sugar, and butter in a measuring cup and heat to 120° F. I do this in the microwave, but you can also dump it all into a pot and heat it over medium-low heat on the stove.

Hi! My name is Kristen and I take lop-sided pictures. Also, I am too lazy to fix them sometimes.

Ok. Mix the heated milk mixture into the flour mixture, add 2 eggs, and beat for 3 minutes. This will produce a pretty soupy batter.

Beat in 1 cup of cornmeal. You can use white cornmeal, but I like to use yellow for the color (I usually buy the Indian Head, which is stoneground whole grain cornmeal.)

Add in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. I never measure my flour at this step, instead relying on what looks right. Turn the soft dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes.

That will take the dough from this:

(psst! See the bench knife over there? I think you need one.)

to this:

Place the dough back into the mixing bowl (I don’t even bother to clean mine), cover with a wet tea towel, and let it rise in a warm place for an hour. If your house is cold, turn your oven on for 1 minute, turn it off, and then place the dough bowl inside.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down, turn it out onto a floured counter, and cut it in half. Roll each half out into a rectangular shape, roll it up, starting from the short side, and place each loaf into a bread pan.

You can use 4×8 or 9×5 inch loaf pans for this recipe…the ones in the 4×6 pans will just be kind of tall. I can never decide which I prefer!

Cover the loaves and let them rise 30-45 minutes, or until they look doubled in size.

Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until they look browned and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Place the loaves on wire racks to cool.

Here you can kind of see the difference between the 4×8 inch loaf (on the left) and the 9×5 inch loaf.

Once it’s cool, slice with a serrated bread knife. And spread with butter.

Cornmeal Loaves-makes 2
Printable Cornmeal Loaves Recipe

6-6 1/2 cups flour, divided
2 pkg. (2 1/4 teaspoons each) active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup yellow cornmeal

In a large mixer bowl, combine the yeast and 3 cups of the flour. Combine milk, sugar, butter, and salt, and heat to 120° F. Add to dry mixture in bowl; add eggs. Beat at low speed to combine, then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in cornmeal and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for 3-5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place dough into a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Punch dough down; divide in half. Roll each half into a rectangular shape and roll up, starting with the short end. Pinch seams to seal and place each loaf into a 4×8 or 9×5 inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise 30-45 minutes, or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes, or until browned. Cool on wire racks.

source: Better Homes and Gardens 1973 Bread Cookbook

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Today’s 365 post: “You made more applesauce??”

Wednesday Not-Baking | Energy Balls

I saw this recipe on Money Saving Mom‘s menu plan last week, and decided to give it a try. As I said yesterday, I’m sort of a slacker when it comes to making homemade desserts (especially in the summer when I don’t much feel like turning on the oven), but this looked so easy, I thought even I could get motivated to make it.

The first batch I made was just ok…it had sort of a weird flavor, and after a bite or two, I realized that the problem was a super-strong vanilla taste. The recipe called for two teaspoons and that much vanilla in an unbaked product produces a really unpleasant vanilla overload.

So, for the next batch I made, I reduced the vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon, and the results were waaay better (and cheaper, too! Vanilla’s kind of expensive).

This recipe is fairly customizable…you can use any type of nut butter you like, and you can vary a number of the other ingredients too. And since these are so simple to make and don’t require any heat, they’re a great project to do with kids.

First, mix the nut butter, honey, and vanilla together.

As I’m sure you know, measuring nut butter is kind of a pain since it sticks to everything. To make this simpler and less messy, I put 1/2 cup of water into a measuring cup, add peanut butter until the water level reaches 1 cup, drain the water, and dump the peanut butter into my bowl.

This process looks exceedingly unappetizing, but it’s very not messy.

Ok.

Moving on.

(I thought about not putting the picture in there but then I thought that you might forget the measuring trick if you didn’t actually see it.)

So! Add the coconut, chocolate chips, and oatmeal to the peanut butter mixture. If you have mini chocolate chips, I’d use those because they distribute better. Regular chips work fine too, though.

Stir until it’s all nicely combined.

Place the bowl in the refrigerator for a half hour to make the dough easier to handle.

Take a tablespoon of dough, compress it into a ball shape, and roll it between your hands until it’s smooth.

If your balls are still pretty sticky, or if you just want to make them look fancier, you can roll them in coconut or wheat germ.

And that’s it! You just eat these unbaked…it’s sort of like eating peanut butter/oatmeal cookie dough, except without the worry of raw eggs. My kids love them, and as far as desserts go, I feel pretty happy about them eating these. They may not be health food, but they’re definitely more nutritious than a lollipop.

I store ours in the fridge, but I don’t know if that would be completely necessary in the winter or in a colder air-conditioned house.

No-Bake Energy Balls
printable version

1/2 cup nut butter(almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter or any other nut or seed butter)
1/3 cup honey (I use a scant 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt if using unsalted nut butter
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (or wheat germ)
1-2 tsp your favorite spices or spice combinations(optional-I haven’t done this)
1/2 C other add-ins(whole or roughly chopped nuts or seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc.)

In a medium bowl, stir together nut butter, honey, vanilla, and salt (if using). Stir in oats, coconut, and add-ins.

Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes. To make the balls, scoop out about a tablespoon of dough, press to compact, then roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining dough.

Store in the fridge.

(recipe originally from FoodDoodles)

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Today’s 365 post: Mr. FG laughed at me

Joshua’s 365 post: Joshua is at his friend Thomas’ house, but I think he’s going to update his blog from there.