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--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Monday, April 16, 2007

Portuguese White Cornmeal Bread

I baked this bread at work yesterday while the storm whipped itself up into a frenzy--there is nothing quite so grounding and calming as kneading bread dough and shepherding it though its risings.

This bread is really fantastic--the cornmeal (I used yellow, not white) gives it a nice crunch at the crust, and it slices beautifully. I've come up with a new way to form loaves (new for me, that is) that eliminates some of the trouble I've had with bread in the past, which is that the middle of the slice was somehow unstable and tended to drop or crumble away.

Somewhere I read a description of a way to form loaves that involved kind of a constant "tucking under" of the dough--sort of pulling from the top and sides and pushing up underneath...then sealing by pinching. Although the person describing this technique spoke with authority, I had this crumbling problem, and it finally occurred to me that the bread in the middle was directionless. If you've ever worked with clay, you might know what I'm talking about--wedging clay means you get the silica cells to all go in the same direction.

I also looked at commercially baked bread, and on the cheap stuff, like Wonder Bread, you can actually see a swirl in the middle. Now that's direction.

So with this Portuguese White Cornmeal Bread I flattened out the dough and rolled it up--first in one direction, and then again in another to get some semblance of a round shape. It seemed to work--both loaves allowed thin slices. The real test will come today, when I use it for sandwiches!

1 comment:

Eve said...

btw, smelled and tasted great!