Chilebrown at home

Friday, August 14, 2015



Indigenous people of the Americas had a special way of handling dried corn. They would soak dried corn in an alkaline solution. This would break down the pericap of the
kernel releasing vitamins and natural sweetness that would be lost if consumed whole. Corn tortillas are the perfect example of this process. Tortillas are the end results of soaking corn in lime and grinding them into masa dough and ultimately transformed into a wonderful corn flavored type of flat bread. Today we are attempting to make a cornbread using this technique. It takes a little preparation and involves soaking cornmeal in a lime solution.
The first step is to make some lime water. You can buy calcium hydroxide (lime) at most Mexican markets or the canning section of your local market. It was sold in bulk at the Mexican market and was only $1.50 for eight ounces. Be careful handling this powder because it can burn your skin.

2 cups limewater
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup sour cream
3 eggs beaten
1 stick of butter melted
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder

To make the limewater, use a large glass container and add two quarts of filtered water. Add 8 ounces of lime and stir. Let sit until lime settles to the bottom.
When your lime water is ready remove two cups of water and put into pot. Bring lime water to a boil and pour over two cups of corn meal. Stir until moistened. Let rest for at least 4 hours to overnight. In a separate bowl mix sour cream and flour and let rest for four hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Blend all ingredients to make batter. A whisk will help incorporate ingredients. Place in a well buttered cast iron pan. Bake for approximately 40 to 50 minutes until browned and knife inserted comes out cleanly. Cool for several minutes and then turn cornbread onto wire wrack to cool.

This cornbread smelled fantastic while baking.. The sugars and the wheat flour caramelized and transormed this bread to a beautiful golden brown. I could not wait till the cornbread cooled completely, so I cut a huge wedge and dug in. It was very moist and crumbly at the same time. This bread had a deep sweet corn flavor that was pronounced. The corn flavor was something that grabbed your attention with its deep and satisfying flavor. We really enjoyed this butter rich bread. Was it worth all the effort? I am not sure but it was a heck of a lot of fun to try.


Greg said...

Chemistry at home! I think they used to do the same with grits. I'm so confused.

Chilebrown said...

As much aa I like corn, I am not really familiar with grits. Maybe because the times I had them they were pretty bland and not a whole lot of flavor. I may have to do some investigating. Thanks for the idea.