We Bake Gourmet: Crusty Cornstalk Rolls

My apologies for posting this weeks bread challenge late. I’m sure you will understand that Certain Someone came home for an all to short week, and I was doing what I love best, spoiling him. I actually baked this bread for Sunday dinner to go along with the Veal roast. What appealed to me about this recipe was the gorgeous rustic appeal. Unfortunately my artistic skills didn’t take hold and craft better looking stalks, but I was satisfied with taste. I must admit the addition of corn meal at first out me off this recipe, but one taste of this while warm with butter is just pure country goodness.Steam creates a crust similar to a baguette. All in all this was pretty simple to put together. I can see this in a heart shape for Valentines if anyone is eating in.

Crusty Cornstalks Rolls adapted by Coco Cooks from Gourmet February 2009

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water

1 tsp of sugar

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour and additional for kneading

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp yellow cornmeal

a spray bottle of water

Stir yeast, 1/4 of the water, and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside and let foam. If the mixture doesn’t foam after 5 minutes , start again.

Mix flour, salt, 1/2 cup of the cornmeal and remaining cup of the water. with a wooden spoon or hands until soft dough forms.

Turn out dough on lightly floured surface. Knead until dough is elastic and smooth for 6-8 minutes.

Place ball of dough in oiled bowl. Cover and seal with plastic wrap and kitchen towel.Let rise in a draft free setting until double in size. 1-1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough and without kneading fold like a letter into thirds.Roll the dough now into a 12 inch log.

Flour lightly as you need to preventing sticking.

Sprinkle a baking sheet covered with parchment or baking stone with the remaining 2 Tbsp of cornmeal. Place dough diagonally across. With cooking shears cut 3 inch long diagonal cuts alternating sides. Make sure you have a center stalk. Pull and stretch dough to create separate rolls but connected to stalk.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel( not terry) and let rise , draft free for 1 1/2 hours until double.

Preheat oven to 425F with rack in center.

Spray rolls with water bottle, place in oven and spray 3 more times in the first 5 minutes.. This helps form the crust. Bake until golden for 20 min. Let cool on rack for at least 20 minutes. Serve. The rolls can keep 1 month in freezer wrapped. Best eaten on day made.