Yeast-raised Cornbread

Yeast-raised Cornbread Recipe


I decided if I was going to feature a cornbread recipe on this site, it needed to be two things - delicious and unique. Good enough to get people to try something beyond their traditional cornbread recipes, good enough to get them to put down the "Jiffy" mix. It took a while for inspiration to strike - years in fact. But strike it did, in an antique shop in central California. I was flipping through a dusty, old natural foods cookbook and spotted a recipe for a yeast-raised cornbread, one could tell at a glance the recipe itself wasn't any good, but the idea sounded full of potential.

Many cornbreads are quickbreads, they use baking soda and/or baking powder and have a tender, crumbly texture. Yeast-leavened corn bread is more bready and less muffin-like in texture. My version is heavily flecked with kernels of bright yellow corn, has plenty of cornmeal in the dough itself, and is generously spiked with chives. You can bake it in free form shapes, in two standard loaf pans, or as individual rolls like I did here. It's a cornbread that was born to be in stuffings or dunked in hearty soups - it has the structure for it, and isn't inclined to go to mush.

A small reminder, please read the recipe through before committing to it, you will definitely be shifting into baking mode - with all the kneading, rising, and shaping that goes along with it. Make sure you have a nice block of time and aren't feeling rushed - I can tell you from experience sweet-talking the dough when you are pinched for time doesn't make it rise any faster.

corn bread recipe

I'd like to see if the (unbaked) dough freezes well, I forgot to test that aspect this time around, but will report back and update the post at a later date. I also imagine marrying this corn bread recipe and my favorite Peter Reinhart pizza dough would result in a knock-out cornmeal pizza dough - on my ever growing list of things to try.

Let me know what you think overall. Yes? No? Don't mess with a good thing?

Links:
The Kitchn bakes up a batch of this cornbread loaf-style

- More Baked Goods Recipes -

Yeast-raised Cornbread Recipe

I call for white whole wheat flour but feel free to substitute bread flour or all-purpose flour - you'll have equally tasty results. I also instruct you to let the dough rise in a warm place - it's not very eco of me, but if it is particularly chilly in my kitchen I will leave the oven on and place the bowl on top to keep it nice and happy.

4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup organic cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grained sea salt
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (~105 degrees)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
2 cups of fresh or frozen corn, if frozen defrosted to room temp
2/3 cup chopped chives

Cornmeal and olive oil for preparing loaf pans or muffin tins

This recipe yields two standard loaves of cornbread OR 1 1/2 dozen standard-sized muffins. Prepare your pans by rubbing them generously with olive oil, dust with cornmeal, then tap out any extra. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour cornmeal and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid type mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add about 2/3 of the flour/cornmeal mixture. Now add the olive oil, honey, just TWO of the eggs, corn, chives and begin to mix with the dough hook attachment at low speed. As the dough is starting to come together mixing begin adding more of the flour/cornmeal mixture a bit at a time, letting it incorporate along the way - you might not need to use all of it. Keep adding until you achieve a dough that is tacky. It should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, add a teaspoon or two of water.

Dial up the speed a bit to medium, and keep mixing for about seven minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop, knead a few times, gather the dough into a ball and rub with a bit of olive oil. Place in a large, greased (olive oil) bowl, cover with a kitchen towl or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto the countertop. To make the rolls you see in the photo up above, start by cutting the dough into thirds - three big wedges. Pat each third into a square shape and cut each into six pieces - you will end up with 18 equal size pieces. Without over-handling, shape each piece into a ball and place the muffin tins. Let the rolls rise in a warm spot until roughly doubled - another hour. Alternately, if you want to bake two loaves, cut the dough into two equal pieces, shape and place in prepared pans. I imagine, you can also bake this dough freeform if you like.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Just before baking whisk the remaining egg and brush on the dough, sprinkle with cornmeal. Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes on the middle rack, or until rolls are golden. If you are baking loaves it will take significantly longer. Turn out onto cooling racks. Serve slathered with salted honey-butter.

Makes two loaves or 1 1/2 dozen rolls.

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Comments


Amanda

I love cornbread! I'll have to give this one a try when I've got some time on my hands. But is it kind of sad that it was the melting butter in the photo that really hooked me?

November 14, 2007
 

oooh I am so going to volunteer to bring bread to thanksgiving dinner.

November 14, 2007
 

Being raised around southern home cooking and hating most of it (I know, I'm the only one) I can honestly say this looks great. I'm going to try it right away - too bad it won't be for thanksgiving. My Grandmother decided the whole family is eating out, I almost cried!

November 14, 2007
 

Okay - they definately do look like muffins... despite all that I adore corn bread, or anything else you can dunk into soups or mop up a home made gravy!

I really like the yeasted idea and will definately be adding this to my 'to try' list. Thanks Heidi!

November 15, 2007
 

BariSaxy

Oh, these look lovely! I grew up on Kentucky cornbread, that's almost all cornmeal and not sweet. That's a good thing for me because I can't have gluten. I'm going to give this a try substituting my gluten free flour mix and see how it goes. If it works the effort will be so worth it.

November 15, 2007
 

I love the idea of serving these with salty, honey butter! (I'm with Amanda, the butter on the picture really sells them)

Have you tried freezing these Heidi? The rolls sound the perfect thing for keeping in the freezer to take to work with a flask of homemade soup.

November 15, 2007
 

Might want to try misting these with water just before popping them into the oven. That'll give them a nice crunchy crust. But why stop at water? Mist them with tea. Or coffee. Perhaps if the coffee, tea or water has been sweetened, that crust might take on a candied characteristic.

November 15, 2007
 

Whoops!. I didn't see the "brush with egg" part. You could actually make a really diluted egg wash and spray the egg on, though. Coffee or tea egg wash? Why not? Lavender tea. Coffee brewed with cinnamon. Et cetera, ad infinitum...

Play with your food.

November 15, 2007
 

What a terrific looking recipe. I love good cornbread with a nice crust and this totally fills that need. Sometime I will give this a try; the one thing I do love about a good cornbread is how quick it is to whip out half a dozen ingredients and toss it together.

November 15, 2007
 

To create a perfect haven for rising dough of any kind, preheat the oven for 1 minute (ovens may vary, so check this on yours), turn the oven off, turn the light on and place the dough inside. Just the heat from the light will be enough to keep the temperature perfect for rising dough.

November 15, 2007
 

I love corn bread and have been on the hunt for a recipe I can fall in love with for years. I'm going to have to give yours a try, looks like it has the potential to win my heart.

A trick one of my Chef's taught me for rising dough is to fill a big pot of water set it on the stove and let it boil away, filling the air with steam. Then the moisture and heat in the air will let encourage any dough placed near by to grow big and strong.

November 15, 2007
 

This sounds like the perfect recipe for stuffing - moistness of bread, crumbliness of cornmeal so that it both absorbs flavor and provides texture. Every year I debate between cornbread and bread stuffing - this year - problem solved! Thanks!

November 15, 2007
 

Wow. That is amazing. . .
I simply must try this one, and soon!

My family tends to eat a lot of thick soups around this time of year, and along with that always comes the cornbread! (I'm always wanting to make it from scratch)
Never heard of yeast-risen dough though. I'm sure this would stand up very well to a good lentil soup or abondigas!

One note though. . . my family doesn't have a mixer or food processor. (We do have a hand mixer with a bread hook. . .)
Would it be possible to do this by hand or in a breadmaking machine?

November 15, 2007
 

Another trick for creating a nice environment for bread-rising in a cold kitchen: microwave a cup of water for about a minute or until the inside of the microwave gets nice and steamy, then quickly move the water to the side and put the dough in the microwave and close the door. Don't turn on the microwave while the dough is in there, just let it sit in the nice warm steamy little room. I've had good luck with this little trick.

November 15, 2007
 

claire

one way to get dough to rise faster is to boil a bunch of water in a large pot, turn off the heat, put a rack or mesh over the top of the pot and your dough in a bowl on top of that rack. then cover the whole shebang with a big cup towel.

November 15, 2007
 

This sounds amazing - how easy do you think it would be to veganize? My two favorite bread recipes are vegan cornbread (I use the recipe on the post punk kitchen website) and no knead bread - this combines the beauty of the two and I'm dying to try it. Thanks for posting!

November 15, 2007
 

Ariane

It would take something this inspiring to abandon my favorite cornbread recipe - but I'll definitely give it a go. does anyone know where i can find white whole wheat flour in the east bay? Berkeley Bowl doesn't have it.

November 15, 2007
 

Nancy

One word - WOW!!!!
This looks fabulous. My husband and I both love corn bread, so this is going to be on my list of things to try - as soon as the craziness of the holidays is over.
I would love to know how this works as a pizza dough, if you get to try it out. A little cumin spiced black beans, a little diced tomato, a touch of jalepeno for the "heat" lovers, and a sprinkling of some extra sharp cheddar cheese....hmmm. I'm getting hungry.

November 15, 2007
 

Oh yum. I think I would definitely like these better than regular cornbread! I just made non-yeast cornbread last weekend, but I am a recent breadmaking convert and this is definitely next on my list!

November 15, 2007
 

amy

This looks great. FYI the Liberty Cafe Bakery in Bernal Heights makes a yeasted cornbread every Wednesday. I was seriously addicted for a while. I'll have to make this one and then compare--the thing with the Liberty's loaf is that it gets dry fast.

November 15, 2007
 

amy

This looks great. FYI the Liberty Cafe Bakery in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco makes a yeasted cornbread every Wednesday. I was seriously addicted for a while. I'll have to make this one and then compare--the thing with the Liberty's loaf is that it gets dry fast.

November 15, 2007
 

Beth

Heidi, I have to be the one nay-sayer here...this sounds really freaking difficult (though the pictures and your descriptions make it sound fabulous to eat!). And I am a devoted Jiffy cornbread mix fan, which is great for tweaking with added fresh corn kernels and/or cheese, peppers etc etc. Why mess with such a good, simple thing?

November 15, 2007
 

Jen

This is going to sound funny, but I lived on a friend's farm for a year and her trick for letting the dough rise is to tuck it into bed with a hot water bottle (no really) you just have to make sure that nobody wants to get into that bed...but maybe if they do they could cuddle...

November 15, 2007
 

I just wanted to second Gin's comment. The slightly-preheated oven trick works great to create a warm environment for rising bread dough. Another trick my mother used to use was to place her dough on top of the fridge, where it was always warm.

November 15, 2007
 

Karen

I think this is the recipe I've been looking for. Yesterday I got some really good smoked bratwurst from a local polish market. My plan was to make a cornbread base with some sauteed onions, put the roasted bratwurst on top and bake it together. My recipe had cornmeal, eggs, some cheese and milk. I thought the eggs would give it some body. It looked beautiful when it came out of the oven. Nice browned top. But it was just mush. Pure mush. My boyfriend ate it and said he thought it was good. But I thought it was just horrible. I will be making this in the next week or two with some good sausage and will report back.

November 15, 2007
 

I've never had cornbread, so I can't say which version would taste better to me....but I ordered a skillet online that can go in the oven. So, I'll be trying this recipe sometime soon. Thanks!

November 15, 2007
 

These look amazing!

November 15, 2007
 

I struggle with cornbread recipes for some reason. My favorite cornbreads are grainy, very home-style and nothing whatsoever like bread or cake. But getting the results I want...whole other story. Thanks!

November 15, 2007
 

Beautiful Heidi... and timely too. Great minds? Convergence? Was just thinking about new versions of our old favorite (cornbread) and this will be the perfect answer.

November 15, 2007
 

sam

As someone who pretty much doesn't like traditional corn bread much, this version looks much more up my alley. I can't be bothered to bake any though, so please just lob a roll in my direction and I'll catch it. Preferably whilst its still warm from the oven, ok?

November 15, 2007
 

CathyAnne

I am doing these tomorrow (did 3 dozen bagels this morning and I am over the flour thing). What a find. We live in Central America where the bread is awful, so always looking for something good and new. Heidi, did you read the NYTimes yesterday. There was a recipe (inspired by a vegetarian Thanksgiving) for Corn Bread Pudding w/ ricotta. This sounds perfect. Love your site.

November 15, 2007
 

Well that DOES look delicious and unique, I'll tell you that much! I love corn bread.

November 15, 2007
 

Liz

When I was living in Croatia I always bought yeast risen corn bread b/c it stayed moist so much longer than any other fresh bread I could find. I'd love to try this recipe but I don't have a stand mixer. Any suggestions for how to adapt this for a food processor, hand mixer or just simply mixing by hand?

November 15, 2007
 

CathyAnne

I mis-spoke, I could not resist. It is in the oven right now. Smells great. I am doing it again in the bread machine tomorrow. Liz, do not try the processor, the corn will break down. Just go with the hand method.

November 15, 2007
 

I'm intrigued and am going to try this. I'm not that hip on whole wheat, so I'll go with the all purpose, but I love trying cornbread recipes. Thanks for another awesome inspiration.

November 15, 2007
 

Megan

This looks very similar to a Portuguese Bread called Broa.

Here's a link to that recipe!
http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_23662,00.html

November 16, 2007
 

Normally cornbread does not appeal to me at all...this recipe actually makes it look like its worth eating. Maybe for Thanksgiving....

November 16, 2007
 

Oh these look so yummy! I'll bet they would be delicious with chili!

November 16, 2007
 

Wouldn't you know? I'm sitting here eating homemade vegetable soup with Jiffy cornbread made with sour cream. It's good. But this looks wonderful!

November 16, 2007
 

Stephanie

I love traditional quick cornbread yes, even the Jiffy mix, but am heartbroken when the loaf dries out. This looks fabulous, and I like the idea of making individual rolls ahead of time and freezing them to save for future soup lunches. I'll do a tortilla soup that I've been wanting to try.

I use the steamy microwave trick for proofing dough, but I will try the steamy pot on the stove method.

I can get white whole wheat flour in my local grocery store, or you can try the King Arthur Flour baker's catalog website.

bobsredmill.com is another four and grain retailer has a vegan egg substitute that they sell, but I've never used it so I can't testify as to how to use it or how it tastes.

I also am a fan of the idea of a pizza crust. My husband and I have discovered doing pizza on the grill, and I think a bit of smoky flavor would just be over the top to a raised corn crust with beans and roasted red peppers, etc. etc.

And did somebody mention bread pudding? Let us know how that works out!!

November 16, 2007
 

becky

I made these today and they turned out beautifully! We're having a few tonight and I'm freezing the rest for Thanksgiving dinner. The dough was really easy to work with. Definitely something I will make again!

November 16, 2007
 

Mara

This looks yummy enough for me to try despite my failures at any sort of breadmaking in the humid New Orleans climate. I did get some pizza dough to rise, so I'm a bit more hopeful now. Anyone else have experience baking in this kind of climate?

I looked up that ricotta cornbread pudding on the NYTimes website and came up with an article about a cornbread broccoli rabe dish that sounded fantastic. Alas, no actual recipe, just a general description. I'm not sure that's the one CathyAnne was talking about, but it does sound quite delicious as well.

November 16, 2007
 

YUMMY!

i love this cornbread~

November 16, 2007
 

jenny

heidi,

I totally adore your website, and though I've cooked a number of your recipes--the beautiful bulgar and spinach pilaf and the straw and hay fettucine tangle being two of my absolute faves--this is the first time I've commented. I guess, after yet another success (with this bread) I just felt compelled to. so delish! what a fabulous creation.

I also wanted everyone to know that I made this recipe as bread, not rolls, and I would suggest you stick with the rolls. the bread is definitely delicious, but I think the crumb (and crust) on the rolls is better due to the shorter cooking time. (I have a pumpkin quick bread recipe that's similar: good as bread, outstanding as muffins.) if you do decide to go the two loaves route, though, the bread took about 50 minutes in my oven (which tends to be well-calibrated, temperature-wise), although I think I could have taken it out about 5 minutes earlier.

I can't wait to try this again as rolls.

happy baking to all!

November 17, 2007
 

milly

I love to bake, Im going to try the bread.I just might us it for my corn stuffing.
after it's done just add onions,olives,celery and a turkey broth and bake for 30-20 mins

Thanks for that

November 17, 2007
 

milly

That sounds real good. I think I'm going to use the cornbread for my thanksgiving dinner.
All you need to do after its done, add onions, celery, olives, and what ever you want.Pure broth over about a cup per cup.
bake @ 375 to 30 -40mins
thanks and enjoy

November 17, 2007
 

I made the sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds today and they are great. But they all stuck pretty hard to my cookie sheet. Any advice on how to prevent that?

November 17, 2007
 

Valentinia

Monica: I make the below recipe for broa, which calls for milk, but I always use something else... soy milk or just water plus protein powder (I know... it turns out though) or extra oil.

My stepmother makes a killer cornbread stuffing, with the traditional egg, broth, celery, and onions, but she also throws in cashews or pine nuts, mushrooms, and wild rice. As much as I like mushy comfort food, her version is far tastier with the texture and crunch.

Broa
Dissolvify:
-2t yeast
-0.5c + 2T warm milk (or something else :-)
-0.75c. water (at end of 5 min)
Meanwhile, mix up:
-1.25c. yellow cornmeal
-2.25 c. flour (unbleached, all purpose)
-1.5 t. salt
Combine all the above with:
-2T. olive oil.
Knead ten min to a firm, moist, nonsticky dough. Rise 'til double, approx 1.5 hr. Punch, rest 10 min, shape it (better as rolls or pan de epis than loaf). Proof til double, approx 1 hour. Dust w/ cornmeal, bake 45 min @ 400

November 17, 2007
 

CathyAnne

My bread worked great, all loved it. I thought it could use more salt, but that may be due to the left out chives. I wanted the kids to eat it, so I went conserative on onion flavor. MARA you have the right Corn Bread Pudding recipe. At NYTimes.com the recipes are separate from the article and nearer the end of the Dinning section. Also the Times takes recipes off, putting new ones on, every Wednesday. JENNY, my oven is not well calibrated (I think due to running on propane) and I get consistant results with yeasted breads using a programable digital thermomitor. Certainly worked with this bread.

November 18, 2007
 

Monika

See, yeast scares me.
I'm always sure that I'm going to ruin it somehow.

November 18, 2007
 

Roz

Thank you Heidi for your wonderful site. I love getting your recommendations and reading the various recipes. Just wonderful!
I made these cornbread rolls for a dinner party last night. The rolls went with a salad of fall greens and parmesan cheese. Only two left after that course!
I have been baking bread from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book, and this recipe struck me as similar to Anadama Bread. Instead of honey in your recipe, he has molasses, but no eggs in PR' recipe. Plus PR's takes two days....two very simple days of minimal work. I definitely recommend both recipes...I am going to use the PR recipe and do a substitution of honey for molasses. Hope this email is understandable to all.

November 18, 2007
 

I love any and all breads, and this bread look fabulous!

November 18, 2007
 

jock mitchell

yeast is a known cancer causer.
anything that causes acidic blood causes cancer.
google otto warburg. his 1st nobel in medicine was for his proving this.

November 18, 2007
 

Ariane: Trader Joe's sells King Arthur white whole wheat flour. Stocking has been erratic, but the new store on Lakeshore (and I imagine the one in Rockridge) seems to have more depth to its stocking, and the flour is plentiful there. I believe the same item is sometimes sold as "whole wheat pastry flour" (I'm sure a baker here can correct me).
Heidi: Years before cornmeal pizza crust became trendy, I desperately added cornmeal to eke out the inadequate flour in a pizza dough (silly me, the yeast was ready when I discovered I was short). The result was a revelation, and although it's been years since I made pizza dough, I think I never again made it with less than a third to a half corn meal substituted for the flour. Best, M.

November 18, 2007
 

I love this idea! It looks totally rad. I just made a big pan of cornbread to go with split pea soup and the taste combo was perfect, but I would have rather dunked the cornbread into the soup than crumble it into each spoonful. I like the play with the texture the yeast give it. I'm definitely going to veganize this recipe and try it out!

November 19, 2007
 

I say great idea. I have a standby skillet cornbread that I love and make often, and I occasionally try different variations, muffins, etc. I want to try this, and I agree it's much more appropriate for heartier soups and stuffing than heavy muffin-like types.
Julie

November 19, 2007
 

Rachel

Heidi,
You have inspired me!! Even though baking is a scary and dark art, I resolve to try some.As always your amazing photo's and great writing help me feel confident abut the results. Thank-you

November 19, 2007
 

charlotte s

Hey Heidi!
I've been a fan of your blog for a few months now, always excited to see what you'll post about next... and I just bought your cookbook, and received it in the mail today- and I'm so excited to have it! It's simply gorgeous- filled with so many beautiful photos, and pretty designs. I'm so happy to have it to browse through and look at for inspiration! Your recipies are so inspiring and full of colorful twists.
So- thank you, so very much!!!

November 19, 2007
 

I loved this heidi! but I loved the prep photo more than the final one:) stunning! I had heard about this method, but had my doubts about it. Now that you show it and endow it so beautifully, I'll surely give it a try! Right now I'm too busy blogging about my Thanksgiving recipes:)

-Mansi

November 19, 2007
 

Although your wonderful photos always make things look so tempting, this recipe sounds demanding. Jiffy Mix is great for that last minute add to a weeknight dinner..can't beat it for the time it saves.

November 19, 2007