Corn Bread Loaf – The French Way!
French baking has been changing a lot for the last couple of decades. Bakers have been creating new types of breads and cakes. Developing new flavors, looks, adapting to food allergies as well as new trends… It’s a fun world to explore! So today, you’re going to learn how to make a corn bread loaf – pain au maïs – the French way. Which is very different from a North American cornbread.
Of course, since it’s more of a bread, there is bread flour and therefore, it’s not gluten free. I found this recipe on a Youtube channel called Boulangerie Pas A Pas, from a French baker/instructor. He gives great advice and recipes, so if you speak French, have a look.
I love the golden color of corn bread, plus the cornmeal on top adds some texture. There are many ways to enjoy a corn bread loaf.. With butter and jam, in a grilled cheese sandwich, as part of a brunch… Don’t ask me, I’m French, I eat bread with anything 😉
When proofing the first time, you can choose to leave the dough at room temperature for one hour or refrigerate for about 10 hours. The second option is going to develop the flavors a bit more, but it’s not essential. The most important thing is what’s convenient for you.
Shaping is probably the most technical part when making bread, I shot a video (below) to show you how I do it. You can also check Fabrice Cottez video, he kneads the dough by hand. So for those who are not going to use a stand mixer, check how he works!
The dough is going to be pretty sticky so it’s not as easy to work as a usual bread. If it sticks to much to the counter, simply sprinkle some cornmeal instead of wheat flour.
For the first part of the baking, you need to put the bread in a loaf pan, mine is 8 x 4 inch – 20 x 10 cm. If your pan is thinner and deeper, that’s completely fine. Then, you need to dry the bread for 10 minutes, still in the oven and at the same temperature, but without the pan. Lastly, allow to cool down completely on a rack before eating.
Corn Bread Loaf – The French Way
- Loaf pan – mine is 8 x 4 inch – 20 x 10 cm
Corn flour mix
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp corn flour 50 g
- ¼ tsp salt 1 g
- ¼ cup + 1 tsp water 70 ml
- 1 ⅔ cup bread flour 250 g
- 1 tsp salt 5 g
- ½ tsp instant dry yeast 2 g
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp water 150 ml
Cornmeal for the top
- In a small bowl, put together the corn flour and the salt. Bring the water to a boil and stir it in the corn flour. Refrigerate while you make the dough.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, put the flour, salt, yeast and water. Mix on first speed with the hook for 4 minutes and on second speed for 6 minutes. Add the cornflour mix to the dough and knead by hand until incorporated – I tried with my stand mixer but the hook couldn't work the dough properly.The dough is going to be sticky which is completely normal.Leave at room temperature, covered, for an hour. You can also put it in the fridge for 10 hours.
- Shape as a ball to give it a bit of strength and let rest for 10 minutes, covered with a plastic.Prepare one dish with water, another one with cornmeal and grease the loaf pan.Shape the dough as a bread loaf, dip the top part in the water and in the cornmeal.Slice with a blade or a serrated knife and place in the loaf pan. Cover and proof for one hour.
- Halfway through proofing, preheat the oven to 480°F – 250°C and place a tray in the oven, on the bottom rack.
- When the bread is proofed, put in the oven, throw a small glass of water on the bottom tray to create some humidity and bake for 16 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and finish baking for 10 more minutes on the rack to dry it out. If the bread is getting to dark, put a parchment paper sheet on top.Allow to cool down completely on a rack before cutting.