Corn flour: how to make homemade, how to use and what to cook with it

Table of contents:

  1. Homemade cornmeal
  2. What can be cooked with cornmeal?
  3. Differences between wheat and corn flour
  4. Mistakes when using cornmeal
  5. Everything you need to know about cornmeal

Mchadi cornmeal Georgian flatbread

Mchadi cornmeal Georgian flatbread

Have you ever cooked with cornmeal? Cornmeal is suitable for making healthy gluten-free meals. Baking with it has a unique taste and texture that many people like, very different from baking with wheat. Unfortunately, housewives do not always manage to cook successful pastries with unusual flour the first time. Sometimes it turns out too crumbly, sometimes it doesn’t bake, and sometimes it comes out too sweet … But don’t worry! It is enough just to delve a little, learn the intricacies of cooking corn pastries and you will learn to avoid all sorts of mistakes. Let’s learn together all the most important things about cornmeal.

1. Homemade cornmeal

Corn flour is a flour obtained from corn using special equipment for grinding grains. As a rule, homemade cornmeal is prepared using a powerful blender or coffee grinder.

Homemade cornmeal can be used to prepare various dishes such as cakes, pies, cereals, breads, etc. It has a richer taste and aroma than store-bought flour and contains more nutrients.

Cornmeal can be made from both corn kernels and corn grits (the second option is simpler and more commonly used). We will look at both methods.

To make cornmeal, follow these steps:

  1. Remove leaves and husks from corn cobs.
  2. Using sharp scissors or a knife, cut the corn kernels off the cob and let them dry. You can just leave them in a dry place for a few days or speed up the process with a fruit and vegetable dryer (dehydrator).
  3. If you use a dryer, then you need to set the temperature to 52 ° C and dry the corn for 8-12 hours (after 8 hours you need to check the readiness of the corn, then check every 30-60 minutes until the desired result is achieved). You can check the condition of the corn by touch – it should be firm.
  4. After the corn kernels are dry, transfer them to a food processor or coffee grinder and grind them into a flour.
  5. Pass the resulting cornmeal through a sieve to get rid of large pieces.

Cornmeal cakes in a frying pan

Cornmeal cakes in a frying pan

Homemade cornmeal is ready! It is great for baking, making cakes and other dishes. Please note that homemade cornmeal may be coarser than store bought, so you may need more liquid to achieve your desired dough consistency.

Tip: Popcorn kernels can also be used to make cornmeal. They are already dried and are perfect, because they only need to be ground.

Remember: A very powerful blender is needed to make cornmeal from whole grains of corn. This is not the most convenient option for the home, so we advise you to still consider the option of making flour from corn grits.

To make cornmeal flour, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the corn grits from foreign matter and debris.
  2. Place the corn grits in a coffee grinder or powerful blender and grind until fine grits are obtained.
  3. Strain the corn grits through a sieve to remove large pieces and get a flour of a uniform consistency.
  4. You may need to re-grind the flour for best results.

Note to the owner: When making cornmeal at home, it is important to ensure that the used cornmeal is dry, as moisture can cause lumps to form and compromise the quality of the flour. It is also recommended to use a high quality coffee grinder or blender to get a finely ground flour.

2. What can be cooked with cornmeal?

Before buying or preparing cornmeal, you need to decide what you are going to use it for. Many dishes can be prepared from cornmeal, for example:

  1. Tortillas, chips and other Mexican dishes.
  2. Cornbread and buns.
  3. Corn pancakes and pancakes.
  4. Corn puddings and creme brulee.
  5. Pancakes and waffles made from cornmeal.
  6. Corn porridge (mamaliga).
  7. Corn muffins and muffins.
  8. Corn donuts and other sweets.

In addition, cornmeal can be used as a thickener for sauces, soups, and stir-fries.

Remember: Cornmeal is gluten-free and the dough is very crumbly. Because of this, cornmeal is inconvenient to use for cooking dishes that require molding, such as curly cookies or dumplings, dumplings. Also, cornmeal is not suitable for making yeast-leavened pastries (gluten-free dough cannot rise).

Chips Nachos corn

Chips Nachos corn

You can try replacing part of the wheat flour (like ⅓) in the dough with corn flour to give your baked goods an unusual flavor without ruining their texture. This option is suitable if the absence of gluten in the dough is not important for you.

3. Differences between wheat and corn flour

Corn flour and wheat flour have different origins and composition, which affects their properties and use in cooking.

Cornmeal is made from dried corn that has been ground into a powder. This is a gluten-free flour, i.e. it lacks the protein that is present in wheat flour and is responsible for the elasticity of the dough, the binding of its components and the splendor of baking.

Important: Corn flour has distinctive properties such as low binding, low plasticity, which can lead to a change in the texture and taste of dishes if used instead of wheat flour.

Cornmeal has a sweeter taste and a yellowish tint.

Remember: Due to differences in composition and properties, corn flour most often cannot be simply replaced with wheat flour and vice versa. It is recommended to use the type of flour indicated in the recipe. If you still want to add flavor or change the texture of the dish, mix wheat and corn flour together, replacing only part of the wheat, the result will not suffer from this, but the taste will win.

In some recipes, replacing wheat flour with corn flour can be successful (for example, for breading meat or making puddings, thickening). In general, it’s best to choose a dish with cornmeal ahead of time, without trying to replace wheat in an unintended recipe or experimenting with proportions, cooking times and temperatures, etc.

4. Mistakes when using cornmeal

Sometimes baking with cornmeal is not very tasty: overdried, underbaked, too sweet. Consider the most common mistakes associated with the use of cornmeal in dishes:

Insufficient liquid. Cornmeal has a higher absorbency than wheat flour. To obtain the correct consistency of the dough, you need to add more liquid than when using wheat flour.

Wrong combination of ingredients. Cornmeal has a sweeter and earthier taste than wheat flour, so this fact must be taken into account when choosing the rest of the ingredients. You may need to add less sugar than you intended.

Chvishtari with cornmeal cheese

Chvishtari with cornmeal cheese

Insufficient mixing.
Cornmeal can stick together in lumps when stored for a long time, so it is important to sift it well before adding it to the dough. Thoroughly mix it with the rest of the ingredients (also to avoid lumps).

Overdried dough. Corn flour baked faster than wheat flour. If the cake is too dry, then you should try reducing the baking time.

The use of yeast in the dough. Unfortunately, you can’t make yeast-leavened breads with cornmeal (the dough just won’t rise due to the lack of gluten). You can try using a mixture of wheat and corn flour for yeast baking, but the result is unpredictable.

Use of coarse flour. Purchased cornmeal comes in coarse and fine grinding. Coarse cornmeal is good for breading or making grainy, crumbly baked goods. Flour with fine grinding is more versatile, suitable for making any pastry and is used much more often. Recipe authors do not always specify what kind of flour they use, so it is important to consider that the problem may be in the flour you have chosen.

Using homemade flour. Unfortunately, homemade flour is not always fine enough. Due to the excessively coarse grinding of flour, baking may not work, because the dough will not absorb the amount of water that was originally proposed by the author of the recipe. Pay attention to the consistency of the dough before you start baking the product. You may be able to fix this by adding a little more or a little less liquid than suggested in the recipe.

Using spoiled cornmeal. Cornmeal deteriorates when stored for a long time. Most often, housewives are faced with drying out of cornmeal. If the flour itself is not rancid (has a neutral smell, not musty), then you can continue to use it, remembering that you may need a little more liquid. Always rely on the desired consistency of the dough, not grams.

5. Everything you need to know about cornmeal

We have covered all the most important things related to cooking with cornmeal. Let’s recall the most significant points from the article:

  • When cooking with cornmeal, it is important to consider its characteristics: it is less sticky than wheat flour, and may require the addition of more liquid to maintain the consistency of the dough. It is also important not to overdry the dough made with cornmeal. Keep in mind that cornbread bakes faster than wheat.
  • At home, cornmeal can be made from dried grains or corn grits. One way or another, you will need a powerful blender or coffee grinder.
  • Not always homemade flour is successful and has a fine grinding, sometimes it is better to buy ready-made flour in the store.
  • Yeast baked goods cannot be prepared with cornmeal, because. This type of flour does not contain gluten.
  • Cornmeal often sticks together in lumps when stored for a long time, so it is important to sift it before adding it to the dough.

Now that you have learned all the secrets and features of cooking corn pastries, it’s time to test your knowledge in practice! How about cornbread? Or sweet muffins? Experiment! Think of each new recipe as a field for creativity, try it in small portions and change any recipe for yourself.

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