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Jewish Corn Bread

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I'm not talking about what they call corn-rye, which is, as far as I can tell, rye bread with cornmeal incorporated into it. I'm talking about something that's getting harder and harder to find even in NYC, much less Los Angeles. Corn bread is not made with any corn. (Corn in the Eastern European vernacular can refer to any grain.) This is a VERY dense, chewy, crusty, sour rye bread, made in large, round loaves. It is rye bread squared: extremely moist, heavy crumb that is almost grey in color, and a thick, yet crunchy crust that you have to tear with your teeth. In NY Jewish bakeries, it is known simply as corn bread. It of course resembles NY Jewish rye bread, but is unique in weight, moisture, flavor, and texture. Anybody remember it? Anybody know where to get it in Los Angeles?

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  1. That's a great question.

    I have no idea what the answer is, but I love the fact that someone else will. That's the best thing about the boards.

    If I didn't have Chowhound to guide me, I'd try Diamond's on Fairfax, only because they seem to do rye bread so well. They might know what you are after.

    1. Victor Benes bakeries (inside Gelsons) have corn rye, usually very good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PayOrPlay

        Don't be mad? Trader Joe's JCR, thin and very dense.

      2. Guys --

        My opening statement -- "I'm NOT talking about what they call corn-rye..." Corn-rye has cornmeal in it. It's an attempt to emulate corn bread designed by someone who did not realize that there is no corn in corn bread (an understandable mistake). Corn-rye tastes good, but it's easy to find, and it's not what I'm after. If you remember and/or understand what New-York/Jewish corn bread is and know where to find it in L.A., then... HELP!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sklarman

          Corn rye does not have cornmeal in it - it's the cornmeal on the bottom. It's a sourdough rye, made also with "clear" flour, that's silky, crusty, tangy. Divine.

        2. My parents were from NYC and loved the rye bread from the Beverlywood Bakery on Pico Blvd. near Doheny. Sure, its called a "corn rye" but it doesn't have corn meal in it, only around it. Its a dense grayish color, crusty, chewy, sour rye bread which sounds what you're looking for but without any corn meal added to it. If you ask them to cut it thickly for you, you'll have that dense, chewy bread. The thinner slices just don't have as much condensed sour flavor. My father used to call their corn rye, "corn bread" but maybe its not exactly what you're looking for. Maybe the bread was called that in NY and no where else. After all what they call "gravy" in some areas of the east coast is spaghetti sauce to us on the west coast. I'm sure that if you went there or called there, they'd make a few loaves for you just the way you want them. Ask them not omit the corn meal completely perhaps. And if they won't do it, there's a bakery on Robertson Blvd, just north of the 10 freeway who might arrange to make the loaves for you. Good luck with your search and if you find this bread, please let me know where you found it.
          By the way, Amazon.com sells "Levy's Unseeded Jewish Corn Bread." I found it by typing in "Jewish Corn Bread".. the sale goes through Netgrocer.com.

          4 Replies
          1. re: AnnieAmie

            I think you shoud try Diamond Bakery on Fairfax just north of Beverly. They might have it.

            1. re: jlq3d3

              And when I last checked (admittedly,moe than a few years ago) Diamond Bakery was the supplier in LA to trader Joe's for their corn rye. Sadly, they slivced it thin for that.

              For a true corn rye experience, go to Daimond Bakery and get it sliced THICK. Then take a slice, spread it well with butter - and eat it.

              If you want to get fancy you can add a slice of swiss cheese (or havarti) on top of the butter, fresh cracked pepper - and then eat it extra joyfully. So good with a cup of black coffee. : )

            2. re: AnnieAmie

              In my Jewish childhood in Detroit in the 60s we also had the same "corn bread." I've never gone looking for it here, though.

              There's a very authentic Jewish bakery on Ventura blvd in Sherman Oaks (name?) that might have it.

              1. re: hpcat

                Hmm... the only jewish bakery in the valley that I know of, with good bread, is Bea's.

                http://beasbakery.com

                Maybe that's who you were thinking of?

            3. You might try the chorny khleb from Blackjack Market on Sherman and Bellaire... it's not "black bread" like pumpernickel but sour, sour, SOUR, and VERY dense, almost spongy, with the required crust.

              It's an Armenian market.

              1. I remember it very well. I grew up on the upper west side of Manhattan and my whole family loved "corn" bread. When I later moved to Chicago and married a midwesterner, my wife's only concept of corn bread was that yellow cakey flavorless sturff they serve in rib joints. NO WAY. Anyway, we used to buy our corn bread at Zabars which still exists and does mail order with a web site. I don't know if they still sell Corn bread.

                3 Replies
                1. re: reggieroy

                  Marmaliga? My grandmother made a corn bread that would sit like a rock in your stomach. She called it marmaliga.

                  I've never seen it anywhere in Los Angeles.

                  1. re: mar52

                    Marmaliga = mamaliga? My college roommate used to make it when she was feeling blue...it was basically cornmeal mush mixed with cottage cheese. Sounds connected in some odd way with cornbread....I am sure it must come from the same place somehow.

                    1. re: mar52

                      Mamaliga, not marmaliga, and you can get it at Dunarea, which is (I assume) the only Rumanian restaurant in SoCal. It's on Euclid Street in Anaheim between the 5 and La Palma.

                  2. Diamond bakery with a corn bread is featured at around 1:30 in this video about Jewish Fairfax on youtube:
                    http://youtube.com/watch?v=s1I-N5RKYAw

                    1. Fred's Bakery on Robertson Blvd. has Corn Rye.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: caldad02

                        They've changed the recipe, from what I can tell.

                      2. Yo Sklarman - Having never heard of this bread, and I grew up in the Fairfax district, it piqued my interest enoough to do a bit of research. I found a few different recipes online; however, they all seemed to be the same recipe and, other than the use of a sourdough starter, as well as black caraway seeds ("chernushka"). the recipes are unremarkable. Then, I came across the below site which really does describe your comestible of choice. The bread recipe is a simple one, but the starter takes FOUR DAYS to prepare. Good things happen to those who wait? (Including Jewish Corn Bread?) If you feel adventurous, or if you can convince someone else to make it for you, check it out. As it turns out, the "secret" to getting the correct texture that you have described is the addition of already prepared rye bread to the dough. Enjoy.

                        http://breadnet.net/nyrye.html

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Gingergirl

                          If you're going to make it yourself, you can buy charnushka from a number of places on Fairfax or go down to Penzeys in Torrance and buy it there.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            I've also seen it at Jon's market at Winnetka and Roscoe. Generally, Jon's carries most of the same inventory in their other locations.

                            1. re: Gingergirl

                              I've tried the corn rye at Jons - nice, not as silky or heavy as others.

                          2. re: Gingergirl

                            Thanks everyone... I'm going to the Diamond Bakery on Fairfax - It's right up the street!

                            1. re: Sklarman

                              I too have been looking for deli corn bread like the good ol days growing up in NYC area.
                              Please come on back on line and let us know if your visit to Diamond Bakery was successful and if so, do they ship. I live in Virginia now and would order a loaf and have one shipped to my father in Florida who only gets funny looks when he asks around for corn bread and gets only the southwestern type made from cornmeal in shallow pans. - thanks

                          3. Hi, I would tend to think that this would more likely be found at the old-style kosher bakeries where Zaydies & Bubbies shop!! Gut Mazel!, JET

                            1. I the corn bread I recall selling as a clerk at the Blake Bake Shop on New Lots Ave in Brooklyn in the '50's was much lighter in color than any rye. The crust was a light tan color, the crumb of a moderate density. Alas at the time I had no interest in baking and have no idea of the recipe.

                              1. My Family had a great Jewish bakery in Long Beach New York. And my father used to bring home loves of the corn bread you are referring to.I don't think you will find it any more. My father would never allow me to work in the bakery but he told me that he key to Corn Bread was that you need an over that had live steam in it.
                                Unfortunately baking is a lost art in the US. My fathers bakery had baker working there from Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia.. ou may have to go there to get Corn Bread.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: richborn

                                  I briefly worked at the Blake Bake Shop in the New Lots section of Brooklyn in the fifties. No idea what went into the corn bread so many have described. Another bread I'd like to have is the raisin pumpernickel which was favored by the Russians in the area. they were 4 lb breads.

                                  1. re: alhbamboo

                                    My parents get that raisin bread every week. Bea's Bakery in Tarzana.

                                    1. re: gr8pimpin

                                      Pretty funny, I just picked up some from Bea's about an hour ago.

                                    2. re: alhbamboo

                                      Raisin Pumpernickel from Bea's and Diamond Bakery.

                                      Yum.