Masa Harina Sourdough
I make a delicious masa harina skillet cornbread. The masa harina vs cornmeal brings a tasty, subtle flavor. because I like it so much, I've been thinking about trying a sourdough bread with masa harina, and now I've tried it. I was surprised how easy it was.
There have been some other posts on this site about cornmeal or corn flour bread, and now I'm adding my own. First, some pictures, then the formula.
All baker's percentages for this formula are based on the added flour not including flour in the starter. This flour added up to 10 oz, a small loaf but good for experimenting.
- Masa harina: 35%
- KA bread flour: 65%
- starter (white, 100% hydration): 20%
- liquid: about 100% (see below)
- salt: 2%
- beaten egg: 15% (1 US large egg)
- sugar: 3%
The hydration is unsure because I started at 85% (masa harina can really soak up the water) and added "enough" more without actually measuring it. The added liquid was going to be milk, but I didn't have any so I used a mixture of half-and-half with water (for non-US readers, half-and-half is a near-cream with fat content between light cream and milk).
The egg is there to provide some extra structure to try to make up for the lack of gluten in the masa harina.
Mix by hand, rest 1/2 hour, initial knead and stretch. 3 S&F sessions during the first part of the 5 1/2 hour bulk ferment. Form the loaf, proof 1 hour, bake with steam at 450 deg, reducing to 430 after 20 minutes. Baked 36 minutes to an internal temperature of 208 deg F.
This is basically my standard day-in, day-out sourdough process.
I didn't know how long to proof for since with the masa harina in the dough I knew its properties would be different from a wheat bread. In the end, the load depressed without springing back when I gently touched it with my finger, but I thought it could go a little longer so I gave it another 10 or 15 minutes.
You can see the loaf developed fabulous ears and had a good amount of expansion. The crumb is surprisingly open, although the loaf is on the dense side. It weighed in at 18 oz, whereas an all-purpose flour loaf of this size would be about 16 oz. Maybe it's the 1.5 oz of egg...
The bread slices well. It has a mild pleasant taste with the corn obvious but not overwhelming. The crust is chewy rather than crisp or crunchy (despite its appearance). The crumb is very chewy (not tough, but it stays in the mouth as you chew) so thin slices would be best.
I'm very happy with the way it turned out, the dough was pleasant and easy to work with, and I will probably increase the masa harina content next time to (gulp) 50%.