Before wheat became cheap and plentiful in the late 1860s, bread was often made with readily available rye flour and cornmeal. As a result, it was low in gluten and very dense. Sometimes wheat flour was added, which accounts for the moniker. This bread is great for sandwiches and makes marvelous toast.
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup molasses
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup stone-ground rye flour (such as Hodgson Mill)
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently with a whisk. Remove from heat; add butter, stirring until melted. Stir in molasses. Let stand for 15 minutes or until warm (100° to 110°).
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 3 cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add warm cornmeal mixture to flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover the dough, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down. Cover and let rest 5 minutes.
Divide dough in half. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover the remaining dough to keep from drying), roll each portion into a 14 x 7-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll up each rectangle tightly, starting with a short edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place each roll, seam side down, in an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
Lightly coat the loaves with cooking spray; cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove the loaves from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
This is a very good tasting bread, and a nice alternative to whole wheat. It can work well for sandwiches or toast.
The only part of the recipe that I needed to do differently was the time for cooling off the cornmeal mixture. It took over 30 minutes before it cooled to 110 degrees. Maybe it's because I have a very heavy saucepan that retains heat well.
Otherwise, the kneading, rising, and baking worked out just fine.
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