Here is how to make Romanian country-style bread or țară pâine, which includes a combination of cornmeal and all-purpose flour. Cornmeal figures prominently in Romanian cuisine, as evidenced by mamaliga and other polenta-type dishes that abound. This egg-free, dairy-free bread is very moist, especially if baked in a clay baker that has been soaked in water for 15 minutes and then dried and greased before placing the bread dough in for its final rise. The cornmeal gives the bread a slight tang reminiscent of sourdough. The bread can be baked in two smaller round loaves or one large loaf. A large slice of this bread would be perfect for sopping up the juices from the broth from a ciorba (sour soup). Since no dairy or meat are used in this recipe, it would be considered parve by Jews and could be eaten with a dairy meal or a meat meal.
- 3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup water (lukewarm)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups water (lukewarm)
- 3 tablespoons shortening (melted)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 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 shortening, 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 350 degrees. 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.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||2 g|
|Saturated Fat||1 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||1 g|
|Dietary Fiber||1 g|