This is the first of a series of posts on fermented cornmeal recipes. Fermenting corn is a great way to develop flavour and improve the digestibility of a rather tough grain.
Though there are technical differences between polenta, grits and hominy (including their culture of origin, method of preparation and serving style) in terms of fermentation all three are pretty much the same. What surprised me was that the corn fermented so quickly. For my first attempt I tried a standard three day fermentation which resulted in a polenta that was far too sour.
However, once I got the timing down, I made a delicious cornmeal mush that had the perfect amount of fermentation. Though cornmeal mush doesn’t sound very appealing, it is delicious served with a bit of salted butter. It is also the basic building block of both polenta and grits. So it’s easy to start any polenta/grits recipe with pre-fermentation!
- 1 cup cornmeal (coarse, medium or fine)
- 3 cups filtered water
- 2 tbsp lactic culture (whey, yogurt, buttermilk)
- 1-2 cups water (or milk for cooking)
- Mix the cornmeal with the water and culture in a large glass container.
- Leave it somewhere warm to ferment for 12-24 hours.
- Add the additional water and boil for 30 minutes, stirring frequently until cornmeal is soft.
-The cornmeal will either be firm or soft depending on how much liquid you add during the cooking.
-To turn it into a simple southern style grits, use milk for cooking then add 1/4 cup of butter, 2 cups of grated cheese and 1/2 cup chopped spring onion.
-I’ll post a polenta recipe next.