The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Polenta Bread

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txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Polenta Bread


From Maggie Glezer’s "Artisan Breads" again, the recipe can be found online here: http://mightymuffinblog.com/2008/04/07/polenta-bread/ , I highly recommend buying the book though.


 


All the sourdough breads in that book use a 60% firm starter, I recently converted a portion of my 100% starter to 60%, just to see the difference in handling and taste. The firm starter has been going for about 3 weeks now, I'd say it's definitely more sour than my liquid starter. This bread requires to mix the dough very well before adding the cooked polenta, after it's added, the dough became very wet, sticky and slack. It got some structure after 3 sets of S&F, but when I dumped the boul out of the proofing basket, it was a sad flat disk. My heart sank, I thought I'd end up with a dense pizza. Nope! It grew and grew in the oven. In fact, I definitely underproofed (the instruction specifies 2 to 2.5 hours @ 75F, I did 2 hours at 75F). From the crumb shot below, you can see the bottom is denser than the middle and top, another 30 to 60 minutes of proofing would make a more even crumb I think. The big holes were unexpected and amazing though! Must've been all that liquid in cooked polenta, the dough was slack for a good reason.



 


Made one boule and one batard, the spiral scoring pattern on the boule was from the book's instruction, not easy to get smooth on such a slack dough. Since I underproofed, the boule became more like a pyramid, stretched upward very tightly. To get a more rounded semi-sephere shape my scoring should've deeper, or proofing time should've been longer. Scored the batard in a "leaf" like pattern, also a bit underproofed, which explains the uneven hieght.




I liked how the bread tasted - chewy (there's some high gluten flour in there), earthy (the cooked polenta), mediumly sour. Even though the polenta on top adds texture and makes it more interesting to look at, I would skip it next time since it got very messing during cutting and eating. Polenta all over the counter, table, and floor. A very good bread to try!



 


Has anyone else notice that firm starters has a lot more rising power in the oven, comparing to liquid starter doughs? I am used to using my 100% liquid starter, which is why I keep under-proofing firm starter breads.

Comments

bnom's picture
bnom

In Seattle there's a freat bakery called Tall Grass that makes a hominy bread that is fantastic, and lasts for days and days. Will have to try this recipe and see if it comes close.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Hope you like it!

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Wonderful report, Txfarmer!


 


I have been wondering what you've been up to lately, and checked your blog a few times, but I get too frustrated because I STILL cannot post a comment - 3 years of Chinese on my back, but I guess I am denser than some of the breads I bake  :-)


 


anyway, I am used to firm starters, always prefer to use a 60 to 80% hydration than 100%, but I've never quite paid attention to the difference in rising.    At any rate, yous post made me want to go back to her book, there are some jewels in there - the roasted garlic bread is one of my all time favorites.


 


(I hope your book translations to Chinese are going well! )

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Hey there! Haven't "seen" you around now that the challenge is over. What's up? As you can see on my Chinese blog, I am still baking quite a bit, not currently in any challenges though. How about you? Are you doing the "mellow baker" one?


 


This is only my 2nd bread using the 60% starter, I feel it acts "slower" than my liquid one for the bulk rise, but has a lot more rising power for the proofing and baking stages. Still trying to learn its ways. I love that book, like many other female author, she's very precise and the breads are very well selected and authentic. I've made a few before, modified using my 100% starter, all turned out well. Used firm starter for this one and last one (Essential's Columbia French Sourdough), both are excellent in tastes and crumb (very open), but both are a bit under-proofed due to my inexperience.


 


Translation is going well, one more month, I am done!

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

... a little further, by mellowing it a bit more... :-)


 


The first bread I will skip (hot cross buns), and will only make the ones that I'm truly interested in.  I have too many bread books (and breads saved from this forum) begging to be made


 


I might try this polenta bread soon, paying attention to your notes


 


(good luck with your final month of translating, it must be a very tough job!)

kdwnnc's picture
kdwnnc

Love the big holes!


I just looked at the recipe and it sounds simple enough; would substituting cornmeal for polenta work?  Thank for any input

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I used stone ground coarse cornmeal too since I can't find polenta in my usual store. Turned out well!