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What can I use to replace cornmeal in a bread recipe ?

I have found a great bread/rolls recipe that calls for a half cup of cornmeal. Unlike some other posters, I have no problem finding cornmeal, but we don't like the taste of the cornmeal, so we are looking for something that we substitute the cornmeal with, without affecting the rise of the dough. Anybody have any ideas ?

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  1. you can just use flour. i presume that there is other flour in the recipe and it is not just cornmeal?

    (i honestly am not being snarky here, but how can you tell it is a great recipe if you haven't tasted it and it calls for an ingredient you don't like?)

    but have you ever tried fine white cornmeal? it would lend a savory-sweet undercurrent that the flour alone would not have in the rolls.

    3 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      I have been making the recipe the way it calls for and it is a great recipe for both rolls and bread. It's just the cornmeal that we don't like. I will try substituting with flour and see what happens. I will also try and find the fine white cornmeal you suggested and give it a whirl. The recipe as is equals a 9 out of 10 - I would like to bring it up to 10/10 in our books. Thanks.

      1. re: webhammer

        oooh, i see. let me ask this, have you been using coarse or medium grind yellow meal? or is your yellow cornmeal very fine, like flour?

        so it is the FLAVOR and not any TEXTURE issues?

        ps, would you please share your great recipe?

        1. re: webhammer

          Could your cornmeal be rancid?

      2. Is the corn meal cooked first or mixed with boiling water or just added "raw" to the dough? Rolled oats or oat flour (rolled oats whirred in a food processor) might well work.

        1. alkapal has a good point. Some cornmeal are made fine and some are coarse. It is possible that you just don't like the coarse ones due to the texture, and you can still use the fine one. Now, if you are sure that you just don't like any kind of cornmeal, then you can try oat as mscoffe, but I have a feeling that will change the way of the dough rising. For one, oat absorb more moisture than cornmeal.

          Do you mind telling us what the cornmeal was used for in your recipe? Is it part of the dough? Or it is for dusting? Also can you tell us what you don't like about the cornmeal? This will help us to find the substitute.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Yes, I think your right neither wheat nor oatmeal would be a one to one substitute. I was thinking that rising wouldn't be affected because neither corn meal nor oats has gluten. Potato flour might work- fun changing a recipe we've never seen.

            I wondered too if OP dislikes cornbread?

          2. You should be able to substitute any grain (or combination of grains) for the cornmeal, but do it by weight, not volume. (I'm not sure if your recipe specifies both...)
            I bake lots of multigrain bread, and the grains are different all the time, but the weight of the combined grains remains the same.
            Oats, flaxseeds, multigrain cereal mix... all or any would be good - just make sure the grains are small & soft, so they don't need to be pre-cooked.

            1. I'd use fine semolina. Years ago, I mistook fine cornmeal for semolina flour and tried to make pasta with disastrous results, but it occurred to me then how similar they can be while dry. And semolina is wheat, so it won't affect the flavor, while possibly giving the texture the cornmeal would have provided.

              1. Thanks to everybody for chiming in.

                Here is the recipe:


                1/4 cup warm water, 95 to 110 degrees F
                2-1/4 tsp or 1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
                3/4 cup boiling water
                3 Tbsp butter
                1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
                1/4 cup molasses
                1 Tbsp sugar
                2 tsp salt
                3-1/2 cups bread flour, about

                In small bowl, add 1/4 cup warm water and yeast. Stir until the yeast is dissolved and set aside. In small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. In large bowl, pour in boiling water. Add butter, cornmeal, molasses, sugar, and salt. Mix until the butter is complete melted. Allow to cool until warm. Mix in yeast solution. Begin mixing in flour, one cup at a time, until the dough is too thick to mix. Turn out on floured board and knead the dough, adding flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth, not sticky.

                Put dough in buttered bowl and turn so that the topside of the dough is buttered. Cover and let rise until double in size, about an hour. Punch down dough. Turn out on floured board and knead dough for about 3 minutes. Roll dough into a large rectangle and roll it up to form a bread loaf. Pinch seams and tuck under ends. Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Butter one bread pan. Sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal on the pan and place loaf in pan. Cover and let rise until double in size or for about 30 minutes.

                To make the bread top shiny, beat 1 egg white in a dish. Brush egg white onto top of bread. Using a sharp knife, make two or three slashes across the top of the loaf to prevent the crust from cracking. Bake bread at 375 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until the bread is a lovely dark brown. Remove bread from pan and let cool on a rack.

                I am using the bread maker to knead the dough and then take it from there and bake it on my baking stone. I really like the heaviness of these rolls/bread, very European. It also works great with raisins added. The only thing, as stated before is the flavour of the cornmeal. I have been using a fine yellow cornmeal. If I could find a substitute, that would make this a fantastic choice for everyday lunch rolls.

                Can't wait to see what you guys will suggest. It is appreciated. Thanks.

                3 Replies
                1. re: webhammer

                  Soaking the cornmeal in the boiling water is a common practice when you want softer cornmeal.

                  If you don't like texture of the cornmeal, then I think you have two options - use a finer cornmeal (e.g. Bob's Red Mill corn flour), or omit it entirely (and use more flour if needed during kneading).

                  It wouldn't hurt to experiment with other flours or grains. Ones like rolled oats could be soaked like the cornmeal. Whole wheat would just be added with the white flour. You could even try chopping the rolled oats in a clean coffee mill.

                  It looks a bit like Anadama bread

                  In the American colonies they also made a 'thirded bread' - equal parts wheat, rye and corn - in order to stretch the limited wheat flour supply. That mix survives mainly as Boston brown bread, a steamed quick-bread version.

                  1. re: webhammer

                    I think oats would work well, (if you use steal cut cook completely) if rolled oats I think your recipe will work with maybe flour adjustment as you add flour as necessary. Or you could use some mashed potatoes which might give the "heaviness" you like and a nice amount of moisture. You could use some of both.
                    It does look like Anadama, PaulJ, one of my favorites, but mine uses whole wheat (an American bread, corn and molasses from the new world and so are potatoes - ha).

                    1. re: webhammer

                      uses 2c of boil water, and lets it sit with the cornmeal for 30 minutes. That should hydrate the corn more, almost making cornmeal mush. With only 4 1/2c of flour, it makes a wetter, stickier dough than your recipe. It's almost as yeast leavened 'quick bread'.

                      Looking at other Anadama recipes I see ones that use some whole wheat flour, or rye flour. All seem to have have cornmeal, but I'm sure you'd get a perfectly good bread without the cornmeal. But I think you need some sort of whole grain flour, so it isn't just a molasses flavored white bread.

                    2. Semolina's a good suggestion, but this recipe might also be good to use rye flour in.

                      1. Thanks guys, that gives me some ideas to play with. And yes, it is Anadama Bread. I guess I forgot to mention it. Nice stuff. I will be experimenting this coming weekend and let you know how it goes.

                        1. I tried the recipe almost as is (no molasses so had to sub - used honey powder and brown sugar) and it was good. I agree about the taste of the corn meal though, it is a bit stronger than I prefer.

                          I am making another batch right now subbing rice flour and potato powder for the corn meal. I'll let you know how it turns out later this evening.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: hannaone

                            I tried today to substitute the cornmeal for additional flour, as was suggested by some of the posters. The result was simply stunning. Lots of rise, which the "cornmeal" recipe did not have and the taste is perfect. For anyone wanting to try it, loose the cornmeal and up the flour to 4 cups. I attached a photo of batch # 1, I just took batch # 2 out of the oven. Beautiful.
                            Thanks again for the "flour substitute" suggestion.

                            1. re: webhammer

                              So the bread came out great.
                              The interior is light, airy, and very tasty. The rice flour gave the thin crust a really nice crunch.

                              I have some other grains that I am going to try - Oats, barley, jobs tears, and a couple of other Korean grains.

                              This is a nice recipe, thanks for posting it.