sweet polenta currant bread

Sweet Polenta Currant Buttermilk Bread

I am still up in the mountains but have cooped up inside due to a very recent eye surgery.  How recent?  I got out of the surgical center around 10:30 am yesterday 17 March 2010.  I know, right on Saint Patrick’s Day.  It’s about 24 hours later and I still don’t know how I should feel about how I have felt for this is the very first time I was put under anesthesia that knocked me out for a good two and a half hours.  I can only now relate to how Alice must have felt when she went through a semi-serious surgery early 2009 when I happened to be there by her side helping her with whatever I could while watching how sedated she was without understanding a gist of it.

At 0700 I was chatting away with David, the anesthesiologist, who was pretty happy for a morning person –it’s a compliment!– asking him questions about my  past bad experience with local anesthetic (twice) while he explained to me some possible reasons but mainly talked about post-op when one might feel nauseated some hours later.

I did not remember anything afterward from the point when David injected the drug (opium?) into the IV thingy on my arm and said “enjoy the cocktail” into which I said to him I liked classic cocktails and right away maybe “oh I feel something now”; then I was ordered to lie down vaguely remembered my bed was wheeled away.  Then magically I woke up by Sheila the nurse who helped me to put my clothes on, moved to a wheel chair, and I asked for some liquid and lots of ice.  I felt nothing as if I just got there.  I don’t mind this at all as it seems so easy but what little if “nada/rien” I know about being drugged up and its consequences.

No bread for this week, again!  Instead I am going to , while feeling –is sedated the right word?– but still conscious,  write about my very first rich dough bread that I made a few times during the beginning period (Dec 2006 to Jan/Feb 2007)  of my bread adventure.

The recipe posted by Floyd at The Fresh Loaf where he wrote nicely and interestingly –a humorous read– about the origin of the recipe and his take on it.  I learned a lot from the site –thank you Floyd for hosting and maintaining the site– and had made a number of listed recipes.  I did not know then that I would fall over for and get deep into bread creating let alone started my blog in 2010 but here I am.  Those early recipes have a special meaning to me and this favorite bread is one of them.

I followed the recipe’s method to the tee but used ingredients I had on hands and substituted with what I thought might provide the taste that I imagined for I’ve found myself almost  always thinking tasting –yeah, in my head–  new flavor either bread or dessert or savory.   Anyway, here is the original recipe by Floyd’s interpretation and his converting from metric to imperial :

Sweet Corn Raisin Bread

Original Metric Measurements Imperial Approximation and Substitutions
150 grams corn flour
1 deciliter water
1 cup corn meal
1/2 cup water
350 grams white flour
1/2 cube (approx. 20g yeast)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 deciliters milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pinch saffron
50 grams butter
2-3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
saffron I’m too cheap!
2 tablespoons butter
75 grams raisins 1 cup raisins
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
1 pinch salt
2 pinches sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
1 pinch salt
2 pinches sugar

I had made a few loaves of this bread using coarse polenta and buttermilk instead of milk and whatever dried fruits I found in the kitchen such as currant or/and mixed berry.   I knew nothing of corn flour so never used it; corn meal worked just fine.   I also picked out the amount of ingredients  from both columns that I liked best to experiment: less instant yeast, more liquid, more butter, more dried fruits and even used saffron in one loaf.  Here is another loaf that I created and loved that mahogany color of the soft crust:

sweet polenta currant bread

another loaf

and its crumb:


Floyd wrote the recipe in details guided by beautiful pictures; it’s very easy to follow so enjoy.  Some more photos for this particular loaf:

mixed berry sweet polenta bread

mixed berry loaf crumb

more crumb

I will make this bread again with corn flour to see how I’d like it but always keep the amount of coarse polenta because that is what gives the bread nice crunches.  I like to savor this bread with tea for breakfast, as afternoon snack or to replace dessert entirely.  I would also keep using buttermilk for the mildly yogurt taste in the final product.  Never froze it but imagine it would do well.  It’s a loose recipe so go have fun experimenting it.

I am going to sign off and  get some rest but this bread is going to join the party at Susan’s this week’s Yeast Spotting.

Happy baking!