Jun 9, 2012

Corn and Bacon Rolls: Breaking Bread Society

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.

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.


  1. Yummy, I love cornbread!
    Thanks for all the inspiration!

  2. Glad you are enjoying this group, sounds like you are learning and being exposed to a variety of things you do not come across every day. This bread is like none other than I have seen. It is all to common to pair cheese with bacon or maybe even jalapenos, I love the idea of the corn kernels in there. These rolls are pretty amazing to me and I have not even tasted them yet. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    1. I´ll be making them a lot in the future. I suppose they´re also good as a loaf or hamburguer buns!

  3. Looks delicious. I like homemade bread. This is wonderful

  4. Fantastic twist on the corn rolls. So happy to have you #breakingbread with us this month!

  5. Fantastic rolls, Paula. Love how you added bits of delicious bacon and maple syrup. Aren't they divine when they first come out of the oven? I could just see your rolls wrapped up snug and warm with a blanket. You're in winter and we are in the beginning of very humid and rainy summer in Florida;) besitos! (thank you for baking with us again this month!)

    1. Yeast baking is my absolute favorite thing to do when it comes to food. I guess you´ll have to end up throwing me out; I don´t plan to leave anytime soon! Enjoy the summer!

  6. Paula, these look delicious! like your add-ins, the dough looks nice and moist and the finished rolls beautiful with the yellow crumb and golden brown crust. I'm definitely going to try the recipe. nice to know the polenta worked for you, since I only have coarse grown corn meal right now. funny to read that it's winter for you right now. I forget how we're backwards. it's getting into the 90'sF on the Colorado Front Range some days.

  7. What pretty and tasty looking rolls!

  8. I'll forever smile at the vision of your bowl-in-a-blanket and the pans of shaped dough warming like eggs under hatching lamps! Polenta with bacon, corn and maple syrup sounds delicious in any form.

  9. It sounds as if this would be a good bread (your version) to serve with a hearty soup? Is that right? These look a lot better than any cornbread I have ever made. I've never heard the expression "corn soaker" either. I'm from Iowa - I thought I knew all there was to know about corn!

    1. These rolls can be made sweeter or not. They are really good, great with soups!

  10. Mmm, loving the bacon and maple syrup. Sounds like breakfast tidied up in one fabulous roll.

  11. Ahahaha love it 'it felt like I was hatching eggs' Welcome to #breakingbread and by the texture I can tell they were super successful. To me as well 'soaker' was anew term! Stay tuned for what's coming up in July, soon! :)


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