Corn and polenta seem to be very popular in Romanian cuisine, so it was no surprise that this bread included cornmeal. What was a surprise was that it baked really well. The last times I’ve used cornmeal I have been less than impressed.
- Recipe chosen for Tară Pâine
- Cooking method: Oven
- Faithfulness to recipe: Yes, though I used butter instead of shortening.
- Met expectations? Better than I expected.
- Would cook again? Yes.
- The taste test rated on a score of 5: 4.5. Lovely with some butter.
- 3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour (plain)
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
Note: I made only half the quantity as I only wanted one bread.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine yeast, 1/3 cup lukewarm water and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups lukewarm water, melted butter, salt and 2 cups all-purpose flour. Beat with a wooden spoon or paddle attachment just until dry ingredients are moist.
- In a separate bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour with cornmeal. Add 1 cup at a time to the yeast mixture, beating well after each addition. If dough appears too sticky, add 1/2 cup flour.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead until elastic, about 6 minutes (or knead by hand).
- Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until doubled.
- Grease 2 (9-inch round pans) or 1 large round pan and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
- Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead dough a few turns and divide in half if making two loaves or leave whole and shape into a round.
- Place in prepared pan(s). Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 175C. When dough has risen for the second time, slash an X shape into the top, if desired, and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Place in oven and bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick or skewer tests clean and instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees.
- Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then tip out of pan onto rack and turn bread(s) right-side up. Let cool completely before cutting.