If you’re wondering how to make cornmeal at home, you’ve stumbled on the right article. Here we’ll share with you the recipe for making the perfect cornmeal at home. So, you can skip the gluten that comes with other flours every once in a while!
So, If you’ve got your hands on a fresh harvest of corn or you are a fellow that’s appreciative of the grit and distinct sweetness that comes with pies, bread and biscuits made from cornmeal, you’ve come to the right place.
- What is Cornmeal?
- Types of Corn for Making Cornmeal
- Ingredients Needed
- Equipment Needed
- How To Make Cornmeal with Popcorn Kernels
- How To Make Cornmeal Using Fresh Corn
- Tips For Success
- Difference between Polenta, Cornmeal and Grits
- Storing Instructions
- How To Use
- Commonly Asked Questions
- Easy Recipes
- Recipe Card
What is Cornmeal?
It is just dried-up corn that is ground down to a texture that can be used to make bread, cake, cookies and all the other goods that can be made from regular flour. However, it shouldn’t be confused with corn flour.
This is because cornmeal is ground down to a gritty texture that still holds on to the hull and germ of the kernel thus retaining much of its nutrition and moisture. Though the nutrition and moisture of cornmeal make it perish faster, (than corn flour) it’s a healthier option that people prefer over store-bought- flour.
Types of Corn for Making Cornmeal
We know what you’re thinking “What kind of corn, will make the best cornmeal?” And honestly, there’s no right answer to this. Because it all depends on the type of cornmeal that you’d like to make!
What type of corn one should choose depends entirely on the grit their aiming, as well as the purpose of making it. Below are the types of corn, and the type of cornmeal they are best used for:
Popcorn: As the name already clarifies; this is especially used to make popcorn. This type has a hard kernel which is perfect if you’d like coarse cornmeal for making polenta (an Italian porridge)
But It is also capable of producing cornmeal that is as fine as flour if you ground the kernel after popping it. The fine flour produced after popping the kernel is likely used to make tortillas or cereal. In the case that you’re using this corn, it will hardly need any drying or dehydrating.
Flint: Much like popcorn, Flint also has a hard kernel which is best used for coarse polenta, and some gritty Pinole. It is starchier than popcorn, but not as much as sweet corn.
Dent: The kernel of this type is equal part hard and equal part soft. This is perfect for finer cornmeal, making tortillas, and hominy (corn porridge)
Sweet corn: Because of the high sugar content, It must be dehydrated well before its ground. Once ground it is ideal for sweeter breads and biscuits.
Now, I hope you’re clear on how the type of corn we use is directly correlated to the grit of the cornmeal and all the goods it is suitable for. Let’s check out all the other essentials we’ll require to make the cornmeal
Dried Corn Kernels: You can buy them off the rack, or dry them at home.
- Spice Grinder/Blender: To grind the corn.
- Oven: (Optional).
How To Make Cornmeal with Popcorn Kernels
Before starting the recipe, you’d like to ensure that your kernels are as dry as possible. If you bought them off the rack, you probably don’t have to worry about them.
But if you’ve gone through the process of dehydrating at home, you’d want to ensure they have little moisture left.
Then, all you need to do is plop the kernels in a blender or coffee grinder. Depending on the size of your machine, this can take some time and a few batches.
If you’d like your cornmeal to be extra fine, then give it those few extra spins. You know what to do if you’d like to keep it coarse.
Once you’ve taken the time to grind the batches, that’s it. It is now ready.
How To Make Cornmeal Using Fresh Corn
Note: The first couple of steps can be skipped if you’re using frozen corn:
First Step: The first thing we’ll want to do is ensure that we’re starting the recipe with clean corn. So, 20 minutes before you enter the kitchen and start prepping for your corn meal, leave the fresh corn soaked in plenty of water. This will drain out all the gunk, and you’ll notice it in the water, which you’ll drain before you begin!
Second Step: Chop off the big stems of the corn but leave the husks on. Now, to cook the corn, drench them in a big pot of water and let it boil for approximately 8 minutes. Or until you feel they are nice and tender. You don’t have to make them all the way (as if you were going to eat them raw and juicy), but we also don’t want them to be uncooked.
Third Step: The next thing you’ll want to do is take all the corn kernels off the cob. First, peel the husk off and then proceed to use a knife or peeler to scrape off all the kernels. While others using frozen corn can skip this step entirely!
Fourth Step: Once you’ve collected all the kernels in one place, it’s time to dehydrate them. For this, line the dehydrator tray with some parchment paper. You want to spread the kernels evenly and in a single layer.
Fifth Step: Set the dehydrator anywhere between 125 – 135F (you know your dehydrator best) and let the corn dehydrate for 10-12 hours. You might want to check your dehydrator every once in a while and jostle the tray a little to ensure the corn isn’t sticking to each other. If so, make the necessary adjustments and spread them out more evenly.
Sixth Step: Once they’re completely dehydrated, take them out. A good way to tell if they feel like tiny pieces of plastic. Then, try to break a piece on the counter. If it breaks, it’s fully dehydrated. But if there’s any moisture and squishiness then it may need some more time in the dehydrator.
Seventh Step: Once dehydrated, plop the kernels in a blender or corn spice grinder. Depending on the size of your machine, this can take some time and a few batches.
Tips For Success
The coarser you leave your cornmeal (while spinning it in the blender), the more nutty, flavoursome goods it will produce!
In the case that the final cornmeal you’ve ground still has some moisture, plop it in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 175F.
Difference between Polenta, Cornmeal and Grits
Polenta, Cornmeal and Grits are all made in the exact same way. Polenta is usually more finely ground than cornmeal, which is much coarser.
Both Polenta and Cornmeal can be used interchangeably quite easily. Grits on the other hand, though made with the same process, are made from Hominy instead of fresh corn.
Hominy are also dried kernels of corn, but the hull and germ of the corn have been removed through a chemical process called alkalization. It is very popularly used in Mexican cuisine.
Once the cornmeal has cooled off (in case you did place it in the oven), store it in an air-tight container. This container should be placed in a cool and dry place, and have an extremely reliable seal (it needs to be air-tight).
If it needs to be stored for a longer time, take out as much as you need and vacuum seals the rest.
How To Use
Commonly Asked Questions
When stored well (kept in an air-tight container and dry) can last about a year.
You must first cook the cob slightly and then place it in a dehydrator for 8-12 hours. Once the kernels are so dry they look like plastic, they are ready to be grounded.
You can use any type; flint, popcorn, dent, sweet etc. You can even use frozen corn. But keep in mind that the texture will differ depending on the corn you used.
How To Make Cornmeal
- Coffee Grinder
- 3 cups Dried Corn Kernels
- Plop the kernels in a blender or coffee grinder. Depending on the size of your machine, this can take some time and a few batches.3 cups Dried Corn Kernels
- If you’d like your cornmeal to be extra fine, then give it those few extra spins. You know what to do if you’d like to keep it coarse.
- Once you’ve taken the time to grind the batches, that’s it.
- The coarser you leave your cornmeal (while spinning it in the blender), the more nutty, flavoursome goods it will produce!
- In the case that the final cornmeal you’ve ground still has some moisture, plop it in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 175F.