Another month, another bread for the newly founded Breaking Bread Society.I like everything about this group, from the terrific girls Lora, Shulie and Marnely who put it together, to June's recipe, a corn roll that has a soaker, a new term to me, to the idea of playing around with a recipe.
I've never made cornbread. Another thing that greatly appeals to me, but just never got made. I use a lot of cornmeal, grew up eating it, since it's a staple in our kitchens due to our strong Italian roots. Polenta really, which I always use when a recipe calls for cornmeal, but I think in some countries they are two different things. Like grapefruit and pomelos; for me pomelo is the Spanish word for grapefruit, but apparently they are related but different. Anyway, I used polenta for this rolls. It worked like a charm.
Our hostess this month is Marnely, from Cooking with Books. She chose a recipe from Eric Kastel, corn rolls she learned at the CIA. They are easy to make, though take a bit of planning. Nothing complicated, but, being one who reads with dissipated attention, I found myself thinking of making these breads for dinner and found out at 7PM that the corn soaker needed at least eight hours in the refrigerator. Stuff like that. So read carefully first as with any new recipe.
I choose to add bacon bits, corn kernels and maple syrup. They work so well together, and I like the barely sweet roll with a salad or a soup. These buns are a little bit of everything but no ingredient stands out on it's own. The texture the cornmeal adds is quite interesting and the breads couldn't be moister. I guess for bacon fanatics the amount can be doubled. Then you'd have a bacon-first and then corn kind of bread.
Winter is finally upon us and my house was still a bit cold. So for the first rise of the dough I ended up wrapping the bowl in a blanket, literally, since after 45 minutes it hadn't grown much.
When the turn came to proof the rounds, I ended up putting them in the living room, where I had enough space, and each of the three baking trays under a desk lamp (who knew I had three lamps!). It looked like I was hatching eggs.
CORN BACON ROLLS
adapted from The Culinary Institute of America´s 'Artisan Breads' by Chef Eric Kastel
Note: For step-by-step pictures of this recipe go to this page.
For the corn soaker:
1 ¾ cup (415g) milk, first addition
1 cup (150g) cornmeal
1 cup (225g) milk, second addition
For the final dough:
All of Corn soaker (795g)
4 Tbs (35g) vegetable oil
¼ cup (62g) maple syrup
3 ¾ cup (500g) all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 Tbs salt
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen (defrosted and dried with paper towels)
5 strips bacon, cut into little pieces
Egg wash (1 egg+pinch of salt, beaten)
Salt and Cornmeal for garnish
For the corn soaker:
Put cornmeal in bowl of mixer. Bring the first addition of the milk to a rolling boil and add to the cornmeal. Let sit in the mixture for 2 minutes. With the paddle, mix for 3 minutes on high speed. Lower speed and add the rest of the milk a little at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of bowl with a spatula.
Cover soaker and refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours.
For the final dough:
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium low heat. It will take about 5 minutes to release the fat without burning. You want them to be crisp but not burnt. Remove onto paper towels and soak up excess fat.
Meanwhile, place corn soaker in warm water bath and bring it to around 85ºF (warm).
In a mixer, add the corn soaker, oil, and maple syrup. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. With the mixer off, add the flour, yeast and salt. Mix on medium speed for 6 minutes with the dough hook attachment. Mix on high speed for 2 minutes, add corn and bacon and mix 2 more minutes.
The dough will come together but very tacky. If it's too sticky, add a few more Tbs of flour, but don't add too much.
Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let rise until doubled. This will take anything from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending on the tº of your kitchen.
Punch the dough down and remove it onto a floured counter. Press out the dough and cut into 25 pieces.
Shape the dough into 25 small rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or sprinkled with semolina flour.
Brush with egg wash and let the buns proof again until nearly doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF /190ºC about twenty minutes before baking.
Brush roll with egg wash again and sprinkle with salt and cornmeal.
Bake until golden brown and shiny, about 15 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.