Corn sourdough bread

I was really looking forward to this year's winter solstice which for me is a real new beginning, a real start of the new year. You could sense the natural calmness and the strength at the same time that day, something that I goal for in 2015. And days... they are finally starting to get longer again.

There wasn't much sun this winter and I feel as my soul and heart have been longing for the sun warmth and the expanding energy of the light for too long. So, at least I could do was to find a decent substitute - to feed my soul and to expand my heart. I found some corn flour in the pantry and that was it - my sunrise of this winter. Although I am allergic to corn, I like how it brings the sweetness and the yellowness into the bread.

Corn sourdough bread

Sourdough bread is very easy to make, all you have to do is to recognize the readiness of  your fermenting dough before moving to the next step (shaping or baking). If you let it rise too long, your bread won't have enough strength to fully rise and can even collapse after scoring, and if your leave your dough rise not enough time, the crumb will be tight and dense and the crust of your bread will be pale.
For this corn sourdough bread, I mixed the dough in the evening, let it rise until doubled in volume in the morning, preshaped it, shaped it, let it rise until doubled in volume again and until having passed the poking test, then baked it and let it to cool down. If you can't bake in the morning, you can mix the dough in the morning, let it rise until afternoon, then shape it , let it rise again and bake in the evening.

Corn sourdough bread
Yields: 2 small loaves or one big loaf

100 g corn flour + 100 g hot water
400 g white wheat flour
230 g water
80 g active rye sourdough starter
10 g fine sea salt


1. In the evening (day before baking), first mix 100 g of corn flour with 100 g of hot water. Set aside to cool a little bit.

2. When corn flour has cooled down, dissolve 80 g or your active rye sourdough starter into 230 g of water. Add 400 g of white wheat flour and cooled corn flour. Mix by hand until all ingredients come together. Cover the bowl with kitchen cloth and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. This rest is called 'autolyse'.  Observe how the dough becomes more extensible after the rest. Letting your dough to rest after mixing it is a great option if you don't know how much water your flour absorbs. You can start with less water, let the dough rest and then see if you need to add more water.
An active rye sourdough starter looks bubbly and it has risen (doubled in volume) since the last feeding. I fed my sourdough starter in the morning of that day.

3. Add 10 g of salt and squeeze it well into the dough.

4. Knead the dough for 5 minutes or until you see the dough is stretchy and it doesn't tear and then transfer it to a clean bowl. Cover the bowl with a piece of cling film or a kitchen cloth and let it rise overnight until (almost) doubled in volume. It took 11 hours for my dough to double because my kitchen was quite cold. If you would like to speed up the fermentation, add more starter or place a bowl in the warm place (oven).

5. In the morning, the dough looked like in the photo below.

Corn sourdough bread fermented dough

6. Next, use your plastic dough scraper and take the dough out of the bowl. Sprinkle it with flour and divide it into two parts or leave it as it is if making one big loaf.

7. Preshape the dough into a ball, flour it and cover it with a piece of cling film. Let it rest for 10 minutes. If the surface is tearing, your dough is over-proofed.

8. In the meantime, prepare your rising basket. I like to line my rising basket with a kitchen cloth. Make sure your basket is well floured so the dough will not stick to it when taking it out.

9. After 10 minutes have passed, shape your loaf. Dust the dough again and turn it upside down. Spread it with your fingers a little bit and then first fold the upper part of the dough over the middle. Turn the dough for 180° and repeat. Then, fold the upper half over the lower half and pinch well. Make sure to create some tension while folding.

10. Transfer your loaf to a rising basket and dust it with flour. Cover it with the rest of a kitchen cloth and let it rise until it gets large in volume and when it passes a poking test.

Corn sourdough bread before after

11. You will know your dough is fermented if the indent you make with your finger springs back slowly and not all the way back. If the indent springs back quickly, leave the dough to rise longer. It took my bread 3 hours to be fully fermented.

12. At least 30 minutes before baking preheat your oven to the maximum temperature of your oven along with dutch oven or a baking stone. I used dutch oven.

13. When the oven is preheated, take the loaf out of the rising basket and transfer it to dutch oven. Score the loaf and put your dutch oven into oven.

Corn sourdough bread scoring

Check the video I made below to see the preshaping, shaping and scoring part of the recipe.

14. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes with the lid on at 240°C/465F°F and 20-25 minutes with lid off at 230°C/445°F and until bread gets nice golden color. Cool on a cooling rack before cutting for at least 1 hour - this is the hardest part.

Corn sourdough bread crumb

If you have any question or a thought, leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy, healthy and sunny new year to everyone - whenever the beginning of your new year is!

23 thoughts on “Corn sourdough bread

  1. Hello – I’m curious about whether you used a coarse corn flour/meal, similar to what you might use for polenta, or a finer ground flour, like for corn bread?

    thanks –

    1. Hi Ivy!

      In this recipe I used finely ground corn flour, like the one you use for corn bread.
      But coarse ground flour is great too, it gives very delicious sweet taste.

      Let me know if you need any help.


    1. :) Thanks for this feedback, Hana!

      Sometimes I forget that others eat more bread than me and have families so I should make the quantities larger in the recipe (my boyfriend is gluten-free and I am the only eater of my bread).

      Hope your bread turns out great ;)

  2. Corn sourdough bread turned out excellent; great sourdough flavor, great crumb and crust. I used the Bob’s Red Mill Corn Flour; hard to find, but grocery store ordered for me. Just to give it some extra rise, I did add 15g of Vital Wheat Gluten and it did it’s job. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    1. Scott,

      thank you so much for your feedback and your experience, it means a lot! I’m really happy your bread turned out delicious!
      Did you also bake it on a baking stone? I’m using baking stone as batards won’t feet into my DO and it gives me really nice results as well. Would be interesting also to try the recipe with higher percentage of corn flour.

      Have a nice weekend,

      1. I have been using dutch oven for baking breads; I use brotforms at approximately 9 inches (23 cm) and they fit into the dutch over. I will try using higher percentage of the corn flour, I am now working with Spelt; so far, so good. It really has a great flavor and I find it reasonably easy to work with.

    2. Hi Scott- I had good luck with the corn SD too. Used blue corn flour and it came out a terrific purple color! No additional gluten in this case and the rise was great, same for flavor. I do think I’ll work on a thinner crust next time I bake this though. Don’t see a way to add a picture here but there is one on the FB group “Perfect Sourdough”.

      1. Ivy, – Blue corn flour sounds great; love the sweetness and flavor of Blue corn, so I will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Natasa, sourdough cornbread is something I really want to make. Is it possible to make it 1 in 5 parts, 100% hydrated cornmeal BUT useing a standard sourdough or even sourdough+yeast bread recipe? Would it work with a zucchini bread type recipe? Im going to try it both ways but would like some input from you as well as I have much respect for how you cook.

    1. Forrest, Just my two cents worth – I have baked this recipe, and it is delicious. It is like a standard sourdough recipe, not like a cake type cornbread.

    2. Dear Forrest,

      apologies for late reply, I’ve only now seen your question here on the blog (usually I get an automatic e-mail).

      As Ivy mentioned, I used finely ground corn flour instead of cornmeal. However, if I understand correctly, you would like to replace corn flour with cornmeal (5 parts?) and make this sourdough with 100% hydration? If there would be 5 parts of cornmeal, I think sourdough could turn out dense maybe due to low gluten content (just one part of wheat) or flat with 100% hydration. I haven’t tried it yet, so please don’t take me seriously :)

      This recipe would definitely work with zucchini bread baked in a tin. And it would definitely be a great cornmeal bread. I would mix all the ingredients, put it into tin and let it ferment until double in volume and bake it.

      Hope I understood your question in right way. Please let me know, how it turns out!

      Happy baking,

  4. Hi
    This sounds and looks great! Would it be possible to replace the white wheat flour with spelt flour? Thank you!

  5. Hello there I’m a little confused…is corn flour and corn meal the same thing? I have a coarsely ground cornmeal. I usually use it for cornbread. Will this work or should I find corn flour? Thanks in advance for your help, I would love to follow your recipe!

    1. Hi Amanda,

      This one was 28cm (11 1/32 in) long and 13 cm (5 1/8 in) wide.

      Regards, Nataša

  6. Hello, it really looks delicious. I plan to make this bread over the weekend :)
    I was wondering, why do you use hot water in the first step?

  7. Hello Natasa – Is the flour you used masa harina? I happen to have that and wondered if it would work in this recipe.

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