In the past few weeks I had a lot of conversations with my Croatian girlfriends about the bread most of us grew up with back home. Corn Bread. And it has nothing to do with what corn bread is in America. It is much thicker, heavier consistency, but very moist and perfect for slicing and eating like that with butter and cheese or some hard salami that is very typical for Croatia. It is also delicious toasted and eaten just with butter and maybe some honey. I have yet to find anything similar to it in here in America and I really had a craving for it. So, why not try to make it!?
Well, for one, I don't have a special oven that really gives it a specific and amazing smokey flavor (this is a commercial oven, but older households in Croatia often have old ovens, often ones that burn wood, that also give it a better flavor than anything modern can!). But, I also don't have a private jet to fly home to Croatia in style, and that doesn't stop me from going home every now and then (hey, I am actually in Croatia right now!!!! Yaay for me!), so why would I let a lack of special oven stop me from enjoying some yummy corn bread??
Well, maybe the inability to find actual corn flour in any of the local stores around me will do it.
But oh no. I am more stubborn than that. I will use corn meal, because that is what I could get in a store! So it won't be a real Croatian corn bread, but I WILL eat something "corny"!!! :D
Easy Polenta Bread
6 cups corn meal
6 cups boiling water
1 stick butter + 2 Tbsp
1/2 cup shortening
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put your pan (iron skillet would be perfect for this) in the oven with 2 tablespoons of butter. Mix the corn meal with salt and sugar. Melt the shortening and a stick of butter and boil the water. Pour over corn meal and mix well. Carefully take the pan put of the oven and pour the corn meal mix in it. Bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. It really will depend on your oven, it must get really nicely brown and crispy on the top so adjust the baking time accordingly.
You will end up with a bread that is very moist and soft on the inside and has a beautiful crunch on the outside. If you don't like the hard crunchy outside, bake the bread shorter. I loved it like this. It tastes like, well, like polenta. But it's bread. Quite awesome. It is way more crumblier than our traditional bread would be, but I was able to slice it the next day and enjoy it as a toast with butter for the next few days. This is so simple I am going to do it very often!