Tuesday, October 5, 2010

BOTD: Fresh Corn Yeast Bread

Ah, fall. The squirrel-like part of my personality wants to pack away foods for winter. That's great when I'm canning tomatoes or pickling peppers or freezing vegetables, but it's not great when I overbuy and don't get around to using things as soon as I should.

In this case, my nemesis was fresh corn. I know that corn season is just about over, and it's going to be a long time before I see any more of those super-sweet fresh summer ears. So I bought more than I needed.

Of all vegetables, corn starts getting old faster than almost anything else. Picked fresh and cooked soon, and it's amazingly good. Left in the fridge for a few days, it's just okay. Another day or two, and it's time to get creative.

I cut the corn off the cob then "milked" the cobs to get all the juice, and sat back and pondered my choices. It had to be something where the flavor would shine, but where utter freshness wasn't required. I started looking at my blender...that might be the first step. That would take care of the texture problems that exists with corn that's a bit over the hill.

And of course I decided to make bread. Of course.

What, you expected me to make soup or something? Maybe tomorrow. I've got more corn. This only used up 1 1/2 cups of it. Yes, I had quite few ears.

While this bread has plenty of corn in it, this isn't your grandmother's cornbread. This is a lightly sweet yeasted bread with just a subtle flavor of corn. It's there, it begs for butter, but it's nothing like a cornmeal-based cornbread. This bread is soft, moist, and sandwich-worthy. I love the smell of baking bread all by itself, but this one was particularly enticing, with the added scent of roasting corn as the bread started browning towards the end of baking time.

For this bread, I decided to use the food processor. I figured I could use the processor to puree the corn and just keep going with it instead of dirtying the blender and the stand mixer bowl. To measure the corn, I used a "wet" measuring cup and packed the corn down in it a bit. I didn't mash it, but I packed it down instead of leaving it loose. I figured that was the most accurate method.

My food processor came with a separate blade for kneading, but I left the regular blade in after pureeing the corn, and it all worked just fine.

When using the food processor, you need to be careful not to overprocess the dough. Process for a minute, then check the dough's consistency and temperature. If it feels warm to the touch, let it rest for a few minutes to cool, then process for another 30 seconds, and check again. It needs to be properly elastic, but it's possible to overknead with a food processor, so don't be tempted to keep going after it's done.

Fresh Corn Yeast Bread

1 1/2 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Puree the corn in your food processor until it is smooth. Add all of the other ingredients and process until you have a smooth ball of dough that is elastic and begins to clean the sides of the bowl. Because the corn could have a variable amount of liquid, you might need to adjust the moisture in the dough. If it's too dry, add water by the tablespoon until the dough comes together forms an elastic ball. If it's completely gooey, add flour as needed. If it's only a little bit sticky, don't worry about it.

Flour your work surface lightly, and turn the dough out. Knead it briefly, then form it into a ball. Drizzle a little olive oil in a medium bowl, place the dough into the bowl, and turn it to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet.

When the dough has risen, flour your work surface and turn the dough out. Knead it briefly, then form it into a tight ball. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap, slash as desired, and bake at 350 degrees until well-browned. 35-40 minutes. Let the bread cool completely on a rack before cutting.

This recipe appeared on Serious Eats and has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

1 comment:

Tupper Cooks! said...

I like this recipe-the bread looks really delicious. I agree it begs for butter-bet it'd make great toast too-Thanks.

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