Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cornmeal-Wholewheat Bread | Cornstalk-shaped Maize and Wholewheat Bread

Now, if someone served me a bread that looks this pretty, I would be over the moon and delighted! :) Who wouldn't be, right?

Is it not one of the most beautiful thing we can do for someone we love? Prepare a dish with love and care and then present it creatively for your family and friends to feast on and thereby sweep them with a wave of happiness!

Oh, I absolutely love doing this and consider it the best part of my cooking experience :)

And if I told you baking this gorgeous bread is not as daunting a task as some of you may be thinking (I did too, the first time I saw it!! ), would you want to try baking it at home for your dear ones? Yeah? Well, to add more brownie points, let me also tell you that this pretty bread is as healthy as it is pretty! It is made of wholewheat flour and a portion of cornmeal or maize.

While the goodness of wholewheat flour we are all aware of, not sure how many really know the benefits of cornmeal? Cornmeal is made by grinding corn kernels into a coarse powder. Unlike other flour made from wheat grains, corn meal does not contain gluten, so it makes for a safe cooking ingredient. Read more about its health benefits here.

This is the first time I am using cornmeal in my cooking and I liked the flavour it imparted into this bread and also its mildly coarse texture gave the bread a wonderful finish.

So, two days back, my family dined on this freshly baked Cornmeal and Wholewheat bread and some hot hot tomato soup. It turned out to be a fun family dinner as we plucked out little sticks off the corn-stalk bread, slathered on some butter over the bread sticks, dunked it in the soup and savored it :)

It is a winning combination and a pair that I plan to frequent in my menu henceforth! Try it and join the fan club :)

Adapted from: Ambrosia and Bread Experience

Makes: 2 medium-sized loaves
Prep Time: 2-3 hrs
  • Dough preparation: 10 minutes
  • First rise: 1 - 1.5 hrs
  • Second rise: 1 - 1.5 hrs
Baking: 15-25 min


Wholewheat Flour - 1 cup
All Purpose Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Corn Meal / Maize - 1/2 cup
Instant Yeast - 1 1/2 tsp
Warm Water - 1 1/4 cups
Sugar - 3 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Olive Oil - 2-3 tsp


Proof the yeast: 

If using Instant Yeast, proofing is not needed and the yeast can be directly added into the flour. However, to be on the safer side and to avoid disappointment it is always better to proof it as it only takes a few minutes.

  • In mildly warm water, add sugar and yeast. Allow to sit for 4-5 minutes. The solution should begin to froth up and bubbles should appear on top.

Prepare the dough:

  • Mix together Wholewheat flour, all purpose flour, corn meal, salt and proofed yeast mix. Add extra water or flour as needed to make a firm, yet slightly sticky dough.
  • Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until the texture feels elastic and smooth. Form dough into a ball and place in a well greased bowl. Keep it aside undisturbed for about an hour or until it doubles in volume.

  • Once doubled, punch down the dough.

  • Divide the dough into two even sized logs.

  • Sprinkle the baking tray with some cornmeal and place the dough logs in the center. 

Shape the bread: 

  • Using a kitchen scissors or knife, make diagonal cuts of about 3-inch-long, on alternating sides of the bread log. Make sure that the ends of cuts do not touch each other and a center 'stalk' is maintained.

  • Gently pull at the cut outs to stretch the dough, forming little 'leaves' rolls that are separate but connected to the stalk. 

Since I don't have two big baking trays, I used a smaller one for my second loaf. The poor guy looked cramped in it and did not shape up as pretty as the first one :( So make sure you use a spacious baking tray for your loaves, or simply make smaller loaves :)

  • Keep the loaves aside for about half an hour and allow to rise a little more. 
  • Preheat oven to 170 degree and bake for about 15 minutes or until the crust is brown. 
  • Transfer the bread onto a wire rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  • Smear milk over the warm bread to make the crust soft and supple.
  • Once cooled, smear some olive oil on top to give the bread a nice glossy look.

Note: The temperature settings differs from oven to oven. Mine works best at 170 degrees and bakes pretty fast. The bread was done in just 15 minutes. At the end of 5 minutes, my crust turned brown and hence, I pulled out the bread tray, covered the bread with aluminium foil and made slits all over the top to allow heat to get in to further bake the bread, at the same time not over browning the crust. Please adjust the temperature and timing settings according to what works best for your oven.

I served my bread loaves with a cup of hot tomato soup and slathered some butter on top of the slices. Dip them in or eat them between sips of the tomato soup.... either way, it was yum-yummity-yum!! :)


  1. Oh Nandita,
    How I loved your version of cornstalk bread. Such perfect cornstalks! Yes, it bears your stamp everywhere...the use of whole wheat, that smile on the risen dough and the lovely shots! Your "corn knife" also compliments the bread! Loved this post.

    1. :) Thanks Namita, for this recipe! This is one of my fav posts too... loved doing this :)

  2. Loved it and as Namita said your personal stamp is all over. Loved the smiley on the dough.