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BBB ~ Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread

Judy from Gross Eats is our Kitchen of the Month for October.  This was a most interesting bake!

I was excited to try this one because 1.) I have baked many of Beth Hensperger’s recipes from this book and her other books and always enjoyed them, 2.) the seasonal timing appealed and 3.) because of the ingredient combo.
I was delighted to try something pumpkin right now and I really liked the rye and cornmeal combo.
Of course I added that little bit of flax. I also had a large bag of pepitas on the counter and they seemed super appropriate. Of course pumpkin just pretty much begged for cinnamon in my book. I used a combo of flours replacing the original bread or all purpose flour.

The dough was silky and lovely to knead.
If I weren’t already in the process of perfecting another recipe (for a rye) bread, I would take this one on because it has so much promise but ultimately both Gorn & I were slightly disappointed with this bake.  We enjoyed the texture and the crust on this loaf but even using terrific flavor ingredients (strong molasses, great flour, cinnamon, pumpkin) we both of us failed to get much flavor from a slice.  We both agreed a slice has a lovely pumpkin aroma.  We just didn’t get it on the tongue.
I would recommend using more pumpkin (reduce or even entirely replace the water) and going with more cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice.

I did half the recipe and baked in a smaller pullman pan without the lid.

Recipe From  Judy(Gross Eats)  adapted from Bread for All Seasons by Beth Hensperger

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Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread

HALF RECIPE what I baked
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
123 grams warm water (105˚ to 115˚)
124 grams warm buttermilk (105˚ to 115˚)
40 grams melted butter or oil
50 grams light molasses
1/4 cup pumpkin purée (either canned or homemade)
1 teaspoon salt
100 grams fine- or medium-grind yellow cornmeal
130 grams medium rye flour
124 grams Hovis flour, because I had it
130 grams sprouted wheat flour
140 grams white whole wheat flour
20 grams flax meal

1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, ground flax, salt, cornmeal, and rye flour.   Whisk to mix well.

Add warm water, buttermilk, melted butter/oil, molasses, and pumpkin purée. Beat until smooth (1 to 2 minutes) using either a whisk or the paddle attachment on a mixer.

Add the unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour, ½ cup at a time, until it becomes a soft dough. Knead until smooth and slightly tacky, either by hand or with a dough hook.

2. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the top; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until double, about 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on how warm it is.

3. Turn onto work surface and divide the dough into 2 or 3 equal round portions. Place on parchment-lined baking pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 45 minutes.

4. To make dinner rolls, divide the dough into 24 equal portions and shape as desired.

Place on parchment-lined baking pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 20 minutes, or place in refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.

Twenty minutes before baking, heat the oven to 375˚, using a baking stone, if you wish. While the oven is heating, brush the tops with melted butter.

Bake in the center of the preheated oven until golden brown: 40-45 minutes for loaves or 15 to 18 minutes for rolls. Remove from oven, let cool on rack until completely cool.

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Since this was all whole grain, I baked this at 370° F (convection) for 50 minutes at which point it registered 199°F internal temperature.  It was baked through and not raw as can easily happen with all whole grains when I don’t check temperature of the bread.

Here’s hoping you’re all in the mood for some fall baking, and you give this delicious bread a try.  If you do decide to be a Buddy, please send your baking story and photos to Judy at jahunt22 dot gmail dot com by October 29th, and they will be included in the Buddy Roundup.

PS: Well now we’ve enjoyed this as our afternoon treat with apple butter!  Somehow that brings out the pumpkin in the bread for me.

 

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Fresh Corn Cakes (aka Corny Pancakes)

Sometimes I can still surprise myself.  Surprise myself on several different levels when I least expect it.  For years, I’ve looked on in envy and wished I could get my hands on King Arthur’s little newsletter The Baking Sheet.  I’ve stopped subscribing and stopped buying most magazines because they just seem to get drooled over and then pile up all over everywhere until I’m forced to take them all to the library or HalfPriceBooks or the trash before a new pile comes in from the mail box.  But this is baking and this would be King Arthur … and then I placed an order and at the end an offer came up … a year’s subscription to YES, the Baking Sheet … for Free!  Could you have said no?  Well, maybe you’d have been principled and not clicked that box but me, no there were no principles between me and that click.  No, that doesn’t surprise me about myself, I know myself only too well.

What surprised me was … you got it, I’m baking from it … well in this case it’s griddleing.  (Right that is not a word but I’m using it and I just know you know what it means.)

I’m one that thinks if you buy a cook book and enjoy the reading of it and get even one keeper of a recipe out of it, it was worth the $$$.  So to find a little newsletter and get a keeper of a recipe seems so much more a concentrated value.  Does that make sense to you?

This recipe came from a book, Yankee Hill-Country Cooking published in 1963 and is a collection of Heirloom Recipes from Rural Kitchens.  The author, Beatrice Vaughan, titles these Green Corn Cakes and I’ve no idea why … although when I think about these and that title I conjure up some crazy idea in my head of stacking or layering the corn cakes with fried green tomatoes and finding a nirvana but that’s something else.

Reading the recipe you rather doubt these could turn out: 8 ears of corn, 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour, salt, Aleppo pepper and two eggs, separated.  How’s that going to hold together much less leave you wanting more.  Well, trust me, it will.  No sugar but these are deliciously sweet and so I added in a finely chopped jalapeño pepper from my garden.

Adding the jalapeño was brilliant, loved it but it also blossomed into the idea that these little cakes would adapt to innumerable flavors.  I just know you don’t need any of my suggestions as I’m sure about now you’ve generated 7 great combos. … cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla; ginger; ham … oh, tell me more …

There were only two of us in the house this morning so I cut this way back: used only 2 ears of corn and 1 tablespoon of flour with one egg.  Obviously I didn’t need the 6 quart Kitchen Aid to whip that one little egg white into stiff peaks, neither did I really want to do it by hand.  Bring on that stick blender whisk!

The two things I think are most important to the success of this are:

1. Score each row of corn down the center of each row.

2. Scrape, do not cut, all the corn from the cob into a bowl. A deep bowl that you can put the cob on the bottom works well to contain all the splattering of corn and it’s juice when scraped.

For more variations, play with the flour and if you want them gluten free: use a gluten-free flour blend or make them with corn meal – try blue corn meal … see what I mean there are just so many possibilities and additions to these.

A tablespoon of delicate delicious!  I promise.  You see the other thing that surprised me about all this was that both of us really enjoyed these and the talk is to have them again … soon … as in tomorrow!