We have a baker friend who visited France over the summer. He ate at many famous bakeries throughout France. Upon his return we talked at length about the bread there. The biggest standout was the baguettes. As with many foods across the globe, industrialization of the baguette making process has impacted the overall quality of this French tradition. However, there are still plenty of amazing bakeries carrying on the tradition of bread baking. He noticed that the best baguettes had a slight flavor that reminded him of homemade popcorn: “Before you butter it, fresh out of the kettle homemade popcorn.” His words sent a whole string of thoughts cascading through my mind.
I remembered reading about French bakers toasting corn flour and adding it in small amounts to their dough. In fact, I had a recipe in my journal that I was dreaming up, but had not tested. I dug through my journal and found the entry I made almost a year and a half ago. The flavors all seemed to work and I had everything I needed to start testing. Toasting the corn grits presented some challenges. Corn goes from bland to nicely toasted to burned pretty quickly. After burning or undercooking a fair amount of grits, I found my rhythm. After the toasting, the loaf build is nearly identical to what I had scribbled down in my bread journal almost a year and a half ago. It’s nice to see almost forgotten ideas come to light.
On a side note, we are reaching the end of peak growing season. This is the time when most of our farmers are looking a little weary. They have been working daily to keep up with harvest and field maintenance. The slower times will be a welcome reprieve from the intensity of July and August. I want to thank our farmers for their dedication to providing fresh and healthy foods for us to eat. If you are lucky enough to have a farmer in your orbit now would be a great time to drop a note, send a card, or an email. A few kind words can go a long way.
Ingredients: Organic or Local Flour, Filtered Water, Corn Grits (MD local), Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Rosemary (MD local), Salt (WV local)
50% Migrash Farms Whole Wheat (MD Local)
50% King Arthur Organic Select Artisan