Sunday, November 2, 2008

By Very Special Request - Great Grandma C's Pane di Granoturco

I was speaking with my mother, Pauline, last week, and she told me about a bread she used to eat at her grandmother's house. She said it was basic Italian bread, but had some cornmeal in it, and was one of her favorites.

She wanted to try and make a loaf to resurrect this family heirloom, but she wasn't sure of the recipe. She had tried one she found online, but while the cornmeal to flour ratio was good, the texture was off, and it was cooked in a bread machine, which we were both fairly certain Great G
randma C hadn’t used.

I love to play food detective, so I took her description and went to work. Since she had done the hard part and had a basic cornmeal ratio, the rest was just applying it to a recipe for rustic, Italian bread. I believe this is pretty close to what she remembers, and even if it's a bit off, it was still delicious.

By the way, the name, Pane di Granoturco, is what popped up when I did an online translation for "Italian cornbread." I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as "Pane di Granoturco" in Italy, so save those "this is NOT an Italian bread" comments. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
1 pkg yeast
1/8 tsp sugar
1/2 cup bread flour
1 cup warm water
...then:
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 to 2 cups bread flour, as needed

33 comments:

Kneading exercise said...

As you kneaded the bread it made me think, besides ending with a delicious loaf, for your effort, the process of making it is probably very therapeutic, and could help avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. If you spend a lot of time using a keyboard, you need to exercise your hands, so why not take some time off and knead some dough?

and...while I'm on the topic of needing...

Start this coming week in a very positive way: (1) contribute to the Foodwishes blog on Monday, and (2) on Tuesday, vote in the general election. Hopefully by Wednesday, everyone can feel better about the future!

Anonymous said...

that really looks great and i am sure it also tastes great - but: after having seen that much effort for a piece of bread, i think i will go to the italian bakery around the corner and buy one... :-) daniel

Chef John said...

yeah, good luck finding Great Grandma C's Pane di Granoturco!

Kneading, thanks! sounds like a great plan!

Anonymous said...

Wondering what using polenta instead of cornmeal will do, up the crunch factor is my guess.
Luisa,Vacaville

Chef John said...

polenta is a larger grind, but would still probably work, there are lots of polenta cake recipes.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about the difference between cornmeal and polenta. The cornmeal you used in the video didn't look as granular as what I thought it was. And I thought polenta was cornmeal made into a log that is sliced?

Pyrofish said...

I am just getting to the whole bread thing. I've been researching on/off for a while now. I did not make this one yet however. I am trying to make something from my childhood in fact. Not that my family made, but that a local bakery named Prioli Bros made. These delicious rolls that had huge air pockets, and were moist inside. I've never seen anything like them again, and the bakery is long gone.

So I begin on my bread trek. I started with a no-knead bread on Saturday, which was delicious. Then a cuban bread on Sunday, that failed miserably. Far too dense. The no-knead came out moist, with a hard crust, chewy inside, big holes inside. There's a lesson there, I just have to figure out what it is ;-)

I think this loaf of yours is next though.

Chef John said...

what was the no knead recipe?

Chef John said...

cornmeal and polenta are the same thing except cornmeal is ground finer.

Emilie said...

Cook's Illustrated has a video for an almost no knead bread recipe. I tried it and it came out really good.

Knit with me! said...

If you've never tried No Knead Bread you must!
It's easy and so very good
I really like this site:
http://www.breadtopia.com/

I am looking forward to trying your Great Grandma C's bread. It looks great.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John, I too have been making No Knead bread for a couple of month. Do your self a favour and watch the video clip at http://video.nytimes.com/video/2006/11/07/dining/1194817104184/no-knead-bread.html
It has changed my life!
Seriously!

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you how delicious this recipe is! I saw it posted early this morning and it made sense to me; I love cornmeal. So, I made it and am now crunching away on a wonderfully textured bread with a crunchy crust. It is a great butter delivery system, but is also delicious dipped in olive oil and salt.

In my hands, at 1 1/2 C, the second shot of flour was too much (for this day). I had to adjust with maybe another couple of ounces of water.

This has got to be an outstanding pizza dough.

Two weeks ago, I did the Salvadoran chicken...omg...sooooo good. That was the first time that I ever cooked with jalapeno. The heat that they added to the dish was just right.

Jax said...

i'm new to bread making. maybe someone here can give a few tips on how each ingredient affects the bread.

for instance, the first time i made bread, i put too much salt. the bread didn't rise enough and i ended up with doughy wet insides. i found out later on that the salt kills the yeast.

Paula said...

Just wondering if I could use my bread machine to make the dough?

Chef John said...

sorry, ive never used one.

R. Romero said...

Hi. Thanks for the recipe.

I tried this and my family and I just did not care for the taste and texture. While I appreciate that this is something you and your mom may have grown up with, I think I will stick to regular italian brean, and make corn bread when I want that.

Thank you anyhow.

Anonymous said...

Can you use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour?


Even tho I haven't gotten an answer obviously I'm gonna make it anyways

Chef John said...

yes! AP works

Anonymous said...

i must have a different oven because i believe i cant just turn it on for 30 seconds i have to set a temp. what should i do???

Chef John said...

doesnt matter, any temp, you just want the heat to come on to take the chill off and then turn it off. You can tell when the heat is on by looking, feeling or listening depending on oven.

NANEKI said...

Aloha John, Oh my God first time I had made bread in my life, and this bread came out perfect, as seen in your picture..My husband is very impress and happy because he can live on bread only, we love bread! Now I can make my own....Mahalo John

Chef John said...

thanks!!

Anonymous said...

why haven't you mentioned about Turkish foods. We have got tons of delicious food. You wrote nearly 90 italian recipes but you didn't write any turkish foods for exampla manti, kebap, doner. Italian people eats macaroni and chees and of course pizza :) thats all. I would like to invite you Turkey and show you much more delicious foods than others ;)

Chef John said...

I would love to visit Turkey. I have no turkish food experience. Can you send me a plan ticket?

Aberjoe said...

Great bread video, I tried a bread machine, too yeasty! I tried and loved the no knead but no fulfillment so now I'm going old school, kneading my own bread, can't wait to try this one.

Nikki Riles said...

I made this and loved it. Now I'm setting out to make a double batch and I'm wondering - when doubling the recipe should I double the rise times?
Thanks so much! You recipes are easy to follow and always come out amazing. Every one I try has been an instant hit.

Chef John said...

it wont take twice as long but maybe a bit longer. just wait until it doubles.

Chef John said...

btw, thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome croutons/fried toasts can be made from the day-old portions. Sprigs of rosemary warmed & then fried in extra virgin olive oil. Remove the herb sprigs then fry thin slices of the pane di granoturco. Served it with New England Clam Chowder & salad--the cornmeal added so much!

Carmen said...

Thank you for this recipe. I like it very much. This is my version: http://kochen-mit-carmen.blogspot.com/2011/12/maisbrot-italienisch-inspiriert.html

Paul said...

Chef John, i have a doubt.. can i use corn semolina instead of cornmeal? you see, i have a pizza place, so i have access to lots of semolina, and since they kinda similar, i have a feeling that will work. but it's always good to have another opinion, especially yours.

Chef John said...

should work!