Beyond Wheat Flours: Why You Should Try Baking With Cornmeal

As you add more recipes to your baking repertoire, you might want to experiment more with different types of grains and flours. One grain that should be a common ingredient in your baking pantry is cornmeal. Here are some uses for cornmeal that can elevate your baking. 

1. More authentic pizza and other Italian recipes. 

Many Italian baking recipes use semolina flour, which is a grittier flour, to provide texture and keep dough from sticking. In the United States, semolina can be more expensive, but cornmeal can provide a similar flavor and texture profile. For example, when making pizza, you can sprinkle some cornmeal over the top of your oiled pan before setting the pizza dough on top. The cornmeal gives the crust an extra crunch. Another Italian bread recipe you could use finely-ground cornmeal for is ciabatta. The dough for ciabatta is very soft and hard to handle, but with your use of a bit of cornmeal mixed with a bit of wheat flour, shaping and baking this dough is a lot easier. 

2. Added flavors in desserts.

Have you ever considered making your dessert with cornmeal? You can make dessert polenta cakes that use cornmeal and ground nuts for a moist cake that is also gluten-free. Cornbread bread pudding is another dessert that features the nutty, sweet flavor of cornmeal. 

3. Increased fiber and flavor in breakfast foods. 

Finally, cornmeal can be a great addition to breakfast foods. Coarse cornmeal makes excellent corn grits for a sweet or savory porridge. For a sweet porridge, you can cook the corn slowly in water over the stove until it is creamy, then add cinnamon and brown sugar with whole milk or cream. Savory porridge can be cooked the same way, but you add cheese and garlic to the final product. 

Another breakfast recipe you can try is corn muffins, which can also be sweet or savory. For savory, use a chopped jalapeno and some cheddar cheese in your muffins. For sweet variations, why not try some blueberries or raspberries as a muffin filling?

To add fiber to your normal recipes, you can sub in some cornmeal. For example, why not use half cornmeal in your normal pancake recipe? The pancakes will have an interesting corn flavor, and they will taste great with fruit syrups, bacon, or maple syrup. You could even serve corn pancakes as a way to eat up leftover chili.