Yeast-Raised Cornbread with Brown Butter

Yeast Raised Cornbread Sliced

This loaf makes great toast because it’s not only crackly on the outside, but also has crunchy bits on the inside. In this yeast-raised cornbread recipe from Jeffrey Hamelman, fine cornmeal is added to a basic white wheat dough for texture and that freshly made tortilla smell.

I couldn’t help but think of popcorn so I replaced the extra virgin olive oil in the original recipe with brown butter (or beurre noisette for you Francophiles). The movie theater scent is faint, but toasting and serving with a side of the amber liquid makes it a bit more obvious.

recipe adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes
Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast Blog

Yeast-Raised Cornbread with Brown Butter

makes 2 loaves weighing approximately 1 1/4 pounds  / 567 grams

For the Poolish (Pre-fermented Dough):

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
bread flour, unbleached       1 3/4 cups          8            227
water, at room temperature        1 tbsp          8            227
instant yeast                   1/8 tsp

Poolish (Pre-fermented Dough) Instructions:

Mix the poolish ingredients until smooth. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours.

Final Dough Formula:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
cornmeal, preferably fine grind   2 cups          8            227
water, at room temperature    1 1/2 cups         12.2          346
bread flour, unbleached       3 5/8 cups         16            454
kosher salt                       1 tbsp + 2 tsp   .6           17
instant yeast                 1 1/2 tsp
brown butter, cooled              3 tbsp          1.6           45
all of the poolish


  • Use about 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter to make 3 tablespoons of brown butter.

Final Dough Instructions:

Soak            Mix the cornmeal and water. Let the cornmeal soak for
                at least 15 minutes to soften the cornmeal.

Mix             Add the rest of the final dough ingredients until a
                shaggy ball is formed.

Knead           8 to 10 minutes. The cornmeal will inhibit gluten
                formation but the dough should be pliable and only
                slightly sticky. 

Rest            5 minutes

Knead           1 minute to further strengthen the gluten.

Ferment #1      45 minutes at room temperature

Stretch and Fold

Ferment #2      45 minutes at room temperature

Divide          2 pieces

Preshape        loose rounds

Rest            15 to 20 minutes

Shape           shape into a tight oval or boule

Preheat Oven    460ºF/238ºC

Final Proof     1 to 1 1/4 hours at room temperature

Yeast Raised Cornbread Proofed
Proofed yeast-raised cornbread dough.


Yeast Raised Cornbread Slashed
Slashed yeast-raised cornbread dough. Got a bit overzealous with the knife here.

Steam           1 cup of boiling water poured into a heavy steam
                pan, preferably cast iron

Bake            Bake at 460ºF/238ºC for about 40 minutes, rotating
                the pan halfway through baking to brown the loaves
                evenly and let the steam escape.

Cool            At least 1 hour

Yeast Raised Cornbread Crust
Yeast-raised cornbread cooling on a rack.

Yeast Raised Cornbread Crumb
The requisite crumb shot. The crumb is tight because cornmeal and gluten do not get along well.

Links About Jeffrey Hamelman’s Yeast-Raised Cornbread:

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38 Responses to “Yeast-Raised Cornbread with Brown Butter”

  1. Manggy says:

    I see the overzealous slashing :) But apparently the final loaf did not suffer for it. Great job. I like the idea of using brown butter in bread– that’s gotta add some pretty fantastic flavors.

  2. Lien says:

    It’s a shame there’s no scent coming from your site, I’m sure it would be amazingly mouthwatering! I think the crumb look very good and airy for such a great amount of cornmeal. Beautiful!

  3. Squawkfox says:

    Lein: I agree on the need for some scents. Albeit, at least LOOKING at these recipes is low calorie. ;)

    Jude: I don’t know how you do it. Stunning.

  4. Anna at Mediocre Chocolate says:

    Oh, my goodness, that looks lovely! What a nice open crumb. I have a recipe for a yeasted cornbread too, but it’s a soft sandwich loaf. Yours looks wonderfully crunchy and light–perfect for soups and toasted sandwiches. A must-try!

  5. Arundathi says:

    i must remember not to visit your blog during lunch time! :(

    that looks perfect, jude.

  6. Aparna says:

    I keep saying that your breads, and this one, look good because they do. There aren’t too many ways in English to say “that’s really good bread”.

    And crunchy bread that smells like popcorn. Wow!

  7. snookydoodle says:

    wow great looking bread. :) that s a pity eating it :)

  8. Miri says:

    Dear Jude, this loaf looks so scrumptious! I love those big holes in it. I think I’m gonna make it this evening.

  9. Lore says:

    Jude you brought back so many memories, we used to eat this kind of bread every day when I was a kid. Looks perfect!!!

  10. Rosa says:

    A gorgeous loaf! That Cornbread looks incredibly good and comforting!



  11. Madam Chow says:

    I’m feeling the urge to bake bread again – I’ve been so swamped that I haven’t had the time! You asked about the kugelhopf pan that I used, and it’s a Nordicware Platinum pan. The link is on my blog post.

  12. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    If only movie theater snacks were really like this.

  13. valentina says:

    The idea of beurre noisette is a stroke of genius. Love this recipe.

  14. hanne says:

    This is a beautiful loaf. I love the idea of browned butter in it!

  15. kat says:

    I’ve never had yeast raised corn bread, it sounds so wonderful

  16. maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) says:

    this sounds so wonderful, particularly the tortilla smell.

  17. Fearless Kitchen says:

    This looks great. I’ve been learning about pre-fermented dough type breads, and they’ve looked very intimidating. You’re giving me the confidence to try it!

    I like your analogy to popcorn. The smell would probably put your guests in a really open mindset, like going to the movies.

  18. Jescel says:

    wow.. what a beauty! too bad it gets devoured.. you’ve inspired me really to try out making some breads.. you do a great job! do you give out free lessons? :o D

  19. Caitlin says:

    What a wonderful way to get around the age-old cornbread question – sweet or savory? Yeasty, please :)

  20. Y says:

    You’ve totally sold me on the description alone. I want this loaf!

  21. Dragon says:

    Your breads are always so lovely. Great job.

  22. sweetbird says:

    I want to put that in my mouth.

  23. Adam says:

    I got pretty excited when you say yeasted cornbread, and then you threw popcorn flavors into the mix. How cool is that? I especially like the crumb, it’s still a little dense but looks nice.

  24. Mike says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a yeast based cornbread. I’m always envious of your breads!

  25. Soma says:

    I always feel like eating a bread sliced like that right away… topped with something fresh…. like avacado or tomato. Beautiful

  26. Christina says:

    I’ve been looking for a recipe like this! The crust and crumb look amazing.

  27. Sandie says:

    I learned a lot by following your “brown butter” link—thanks for including it. I love little tidbits like that, especially your last line on this post, “The crumb is tight because cornmeal and gluten do not get along well.” It’s little quips like that, that tend to stick with me long after I’ve read a recipe.

  28. Eileen says:

    This looks and sounds fabulous! I love the addition of cornmeal into cookies, tart dough, etc., etc.

  29. Andrea says:

    Looks great Jude! I’ve never thought of a yeasted cornbread before! But it looks lovely!

  30. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    This is what a movie snack should be!
    Every loaf I’ve made with corn meal, I’ve loved. This looks really gorgeous!

  31. Elizabeth - Cake or Death? says:

    This sounds amazing. Your bread loaves are always so gorgeously shaped!

  32. YeastSpotting November 21, 2008 | Wild Yeast says:

    [...] Yeast-Raised Cornbread With Brown Butter ~ Apple Pie, Patis, and Pâté [...]

  33. van says:

    Awesome bread!

  34. White On Rice Couple says:

    Wow, having the brown butter on top of this bread? It’s heaven! Geez, the pictures look amazing!!! I want a slice SO badly!

  35. Andy Bobandy says:

    Just made this recipe today. Absolutely fantastic. It’s taking all my self-control not to wolf down the whole loaf in one sitting. I will definitely be making this one again.

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    thanks for this fascinating Coach Bags information and facts I will article a link on my personal blog so my own readers can benefit from it too.

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