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. Knowing that corn season is just about over, I bought way more than I needed.
Corn starts getting old faster than almost anything else. Picked fresh and cooked soon, it's amazingly good. After 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, then started looking at my food processor...maybe it would take care of the texture problems that exist with corn that's a bit over the hill? Perfect! And of course, I decided to make bread.
While this bread has plenty of corn in it, this isn't your grandmother's cornbread. It's a lightly sweet yeasted bread with a subtle corn flavor that begs for butter. 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.
Note: 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.
- 1 1/2 cups fresh corn (about 3 small cobs)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 13 1/2 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) bread flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Olive oil for greasing bowl
- Cornmeal for dusting
Puree the corn in your food processor until smooth. Add yeast, salt, sugar, flour, and butter and process until you have a smooth ball of dough that is elastic and begins to clear 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 to form an elastic ball. If it's too wet, add flour slowly until the dough clears the sides of the processor.
Turn the dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly, then form it into a ball. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, and turn it to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead it briefly, then form it into a tight ball. Place on baking sheet lightly sprinkled with cornmeal and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap, slash as desired, and bake until well-browned. 35-40 minutes. Let the bread cool completely on a rack before cutting.