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Uses of corn flour???

Gracemama Sep 6, 2012 12:17 AM

A couple of weeks ago, my husband, who knows how much I love eating (and cooking) Mexican food, was grocery shopping when he stumbled across a package of corn flour.  He immediately snapped it up, thinking I could make corn tortillas with it.  Alas, he did not know about the special process of making masa de harina, and this is not masa de harina.  It is not made with wood ash or slaked lime.  It does not stick together like other flours,  cannot be kneaded, and cannot be formed into tortillas, or anything else, as far as I can tell.
The only thing I've ventured to use it for so far(aside from my little miserably failed, as predicted,"tortilla test") has been to put a small amount into a multi-grain bread dough.  It proved itself, at least in that quantity and situation, to be essentially harmless, but also essentially undetectable.  Nothing lost, but nothing really gained either...
So I'm wondering, what do people use corn flour for? I am clueless!  What can I do with it? Does anyone have a recipe they could share?
Just to clarify, this really is finely ground, powdery yellow corn flour, not cornmeal or grits.

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  1. j
    justicenow RE: Gracemama Sep 6, 2012 12:35 AM

    Corn flour is a fine gift.
    It is the secret to really good fried food.
    Use a 50/50 mix of regular flour and corn flour to dredge fish, clams, onion rings, meat for chicken fried steak or whatever else you are frying. (egg and water wash first)

    1. Melanie Wong RE: Gracemama Sep 6, 2012 01:38 AM

      Decades ago I made some delicate corn cakes using a recipe from one of Chez Panisse's cookbooks. I recall having to drive across the bay from San Francisco to Ratto's in Oakland to buy the corn flour.

      1. Becca Porter RE: Gracemama Sep 6, 2012 04:27 AM

        Milk Bar's corn cookies

        1. kattyeyes RE: Gracemama Sep 6, 2012 04:58 AM

          Swap in some of it for AP flour in your cornbread, corn waffles or pancakes.

          1. todao RE: Gracemama Sep 6, 2012 04:03 PM

            Whisk about 2 parts water to 1 part corn flour, along with salt to taste, into boiling water to create a thick paste and cook it for about 6 or 8 minutes. Pour it into a bread pan and allow it to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a day or two. Remove it from the bread pan, slice it very thin and fry it in hot oil (but don't deep fry it) and serve with salt and pepper or honey or syrup.

            1 Reply
            1. re: todao
              jvanderh RE: todao Sep 25, 2012 11:33 PM

              Wow. . . it seems we as a society have been overcomplicating cornbread. That's 2:1 by volume, not weight, right?

            2. s
              smtucker RE: Gracemama Sep 6, 2012 04:48 PM

              Rhode Island Johnny Cakes with real maple syrup would be an excellent use for some of that corn flour.

              1. mrbigshotno.1 RE: Gracemama Sep 6, 2012 06:02 PM

                The secret to good fried shellfish, or any fried fish. Corn flour tortillas are taking somewhat of a hold in parts of the US vice traditional corn tortillas made with masa.

                11 Replies
                1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                  al b. darned RE: mrbigshotno.1 Sep 26, 2012 07:31 AM

                  Corn flour tortillas are taking somewhat of a hold in parts of the US vice traditional corn tortillas made with masa
                  From what I can find, corn flour = masa harina, which is the dried version of masa.

                  Anyway, I toss chicken hearts, livers, and gizzards in corn flour and pan fry them.

                  1. re: al b. darned
                    kattyeyes RE: al b. darned Sep 26, 2012 07:37 AM

                    I didn't realize corn flour and masa harina were the same thing!
                    ETA: One of my favorite recipes includes masa harina--sweet corn cake. Mmmmmmm.

                    1. re: al b. darned
                      paulj RE: al b. darned Sep 26, 2012 07:59 AM

                      Can you point to some sources that clearly equate the two?

                      has both corn flour and masa harina. Yes, they include the phrase 'corn flour' in the description of masa harina, but the detailed descriptions clearly make the distinction.

                      texture wise they may be similar, but one is simply finely ground corn, the other, as you say is a dried form of masa (nixtamalized corn).

                      1. re: paulj
                        kattyeyes RE: paulj Sep 26, 2012 08:11 AM

                        I know you're not talking to me, however...I googled a bit after my post. Seems while you can substitute masa harina for corn flour in applications such as corn bread, the reverse is not true for tortillas. Is that the Readers' Digest version?

                        1. re: kattyeyes
                          paulj RE: kattyeyes Sep 26, 2012 09:32 AM

                          The OP apparently had problems making tortillas from the non-masa flour. Sounds like it needs some other binder. For example it might work in a half wheat flour mix, but the result will probably be closer to flour tortillas.

                          I have vague memories of people substituting masa harina (harina just means flour in Spanish) for cornmeal in cornbread recipes and being happy with the result.

                          For dredging and coatings masa harina might work just as well. Almost any starch can be used for this.

                          Masa harina is also used, as a slurry, to thicken stews like chili. Again that's just a matter of being a starch. Masa and masa harina is used to make a drink in Mexico, champurado. Cornstarch is used a make a more refined atole (such as in the Maizena packets of flavored atole mix).

                          To complicate things, there is another type of corn flour used to make arepas in Venezuela and Columbia. That corn, I believe, is cooked before grinding. 'Pan' is a well known brand from that area.

                          1. re: paulj
                            kattyeyes RE: paulj Sep 26, 2012 09:51 AM

                            I found an old thread where our old (and dearly missed!) friend Sam Fujisaka mentioned using areparina to make arepas:

                            1. re: kattyeyes
                              sheilal RE: kattyeyes Sep 27, 2012 05:47 AM

                              I miss Sam's posts :( He always had just phenomenal insights and advice.

                              1. re: sheilal
                                kattyeyes RE: sheilal Sep 27, 2012 05:50 AM

                                Me, too--that's why I was glad to find some of his wisdom on an old thread to share here. He knew much about many things!

                        2. re: paulj
                          al b. darned RE: paulj Sep 26, 2012 08:56 AM

                          "Ya learn something new every day." I have only seen masa harina in my local grocery, but to be honest, I haven't really looked that hard. All masa harina I have seen is labeled "corn flour" as well. It turns out while all masa harina is corn flour, not all corn flour is masa harina. I stand corrected. Thanks, paulj.

                          1. re: al b. darned
                            paulj RE: al b. darned Sep 26, 2012 09:17 AM

                            The non-masa version is not that common. I've only seen the BobsRedMill version, and a bulk bin that could have been Bob's as well.

                          2. re: paulj
                            mrbigshotno.1 RE: paulj Sep 27, 2012 12:55 PM

                            That's correct paul, too different ducks, the tortillas I reffered to above have the smooth texture of a flour tortilla.

                      2. j
                        justicenow RE: Gracemama Sep 21, 2012 08:34 AM

                        Anyone looking for corn flour:


                        It comes in a nice box with four packages, total 96 oz, $13.44

                        Link is now correct, sorry.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: justicenow
                          paulj RE: justicenow Sep 21, 2012 08:41 AM

                          that link is for a pasta machine

                          1. re: paulj
                            justicenow RE: paulj Sep 21, 2012 09:34 AM

                            now fixed

                        2. sbp RE: Gracemama Sep 21, 2012 08:36 AM

                          I added some to my tandoori marinade/paste (tandoori seasonings, lemons, yogurt, oil). Forms a better crust on the meat.

                          1. paulj RE: Gracemama Sep 21, 2012 08:46 AM

                            Your corn flour probably is a very fine cornmeal. As such it could be used like cornmeal in a mush (polenta) or cornbread. It will add the corn flavor but not the gritiness of cornmeal.

                            I used it in an all-cornmeal cornbread recipe, and thought it worked better than a coarser meal would. But that application really benefited from the crust produced by a hot making dish.

                            1. n
                              nemo RE: Gracemama Sep 21, 2012 09:12 AM

                              Savory madeleines. Chives, thyme or rosemary and your cheese of choice (I usually use
                              grated parm or Romano).

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: nemo
                                jvanderh RE: nemo Sep 25, 2012 11:34 PM

                                Sounds good. Do you have a recipe handy?

                                1. re: jvanderh
                                  nemo RE: jvanderh Sep 26, 2012 08:18 AM

                                  This will get you started. I can't remember how I dealt with the flour. I used some AP, maybe a cup, and the rest masa. Just checked the bag, and it's masa for tamales so it's treated with lime, but I would think you could sub cornmeal or corn flour.


                                  1. re: nemo
                                    jvanderh RE: nemo Sep 27, 2012 12:25 PM

                                    Ah, ok. Thanks for responding.

                                    1. re: jvanderh
                                      nemo RE: jvanderh Sep 27, 2012 02:03 PM

                                      Sorry you're disappointed.

                                      1. re: nemo
                                        jvanderh RE: nemo Sep 27, 2012 07:28 PM

                                        Oh, no problem. I was hoping they'd be gluten free, but I'm sure I could come up with something :-).

                              2. f
                                flashria RE: Gracemama Sep 21, 2012 10:23 AM

                                The only thing I've ever used it for is for thickening sauces, when it really is invaluable. If you've made a stew or similar where the cooking liquid is still very liquid and too runny to put on a plate, remove a big spoonful to a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a heaped tsp of cornflour. when you put the mixture back into the stew and heat through your sauce will thicken magically.
                                I'm interested to hear the other uses mentioned below as I've never really seen it used for anything other than thickening - hence one packet has lasted me several months in the cupboard!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: flashria
                                  sr44 RE: flashria Sep 21, 2012 10:49 AM

                                  Are you thinking of the very fine white starch often used to thicken milk for a pudding (American usage of "pudding")?

                                  1. re: sr44
                                    flashria RE: sr44 Sep 21, 2012 10:58 AM

                                    hmmm, maybe.....either way, it's clearly labelled as 'cornflour' on my box - is that not what the OP meant? do you think it's something different then?

                                    1. re: flashria
                                      paulj RE: flashria Sep 21, 2012 11:22 AM

                                      In the UK, 'cornflour' is a starch that is used for thickening, and is the main ingredient in Birds Custard Powder. In the USA, we call this cornstarch. What the OP is asking about, we think, is a finely ground corn meal (polenta).

                                      an earlier discussion on the same topic, from the side bar:

                                      1. re: paulj
                                        flashria RE: paulj Sep 21, 2012 11:30 AM

                                        Wow! who knew?.....well, you did, obviously :)).....the OP clearly can't thicken sauces with polenta! the idiosyncrasies of language, eh?

                                        1. re: flashria
                                          sr44 RE: flashria Sep 22, 2012 06:55 PM

                                          Well, you can, but the results could be surprising and perhaps not what you were expecting.

                                2. chefathome RE: Gracemama Sep 22, 2012 06:58 PM

                                  I use corn flour in many gluten-free applications including dredging, as mentioned above. I love the stuff.

                                  1. g
                                    Gracemama RE: Gracemama Sep 22, 2012 09:45 PM

                                    Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions! I have been busy, but I will definitely be trying some of them soon!
                                    Also, thanks for clearing that up about the cornflour/cornstarch.
                                    I have an Indian(India is a former British colony) recipe that calls for thickening a sauce with cornflour, and I was kind of going: hmmm...
                                    Corn starch makes a lot more sense.
                                    I was wondering if it was just an Indian English thing, but it seems not.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Gracemama
                                      jvanderh RE: Gracemama Sep 25, 2012 11:36 PM

                                      Nope, British and Canadian, too, at the least. I think the space is everything- cornflour vs. corn flour.

                                    2. mbfant RE: Gracemama Sep 26, 2012 06:33 AM

                                      You can combine it with wheat flour in pasta dough. You can also use it for polenta. Or make tacconi: knead the polenta with a dough made from an equal amount of AP flour. Let rest, roll out into a thickish sheet and cut into squares or rhombuses. Lay them out on a towel and cook within about two hours (about 12-15 min).

                                      1. Veggo RE: Gracemama Sep 26, 2012 07:47 AM

                                        When I fry shrimp or oysters or grouper, corn flour with a dark beer and a bit of ancho powder makes a delicious batter. I don't care for the grittiness of coarse corn meal with fried fish.

                                        1. j
                                          JoeHinMI RE: Gracemama Jul 17, 2014 03:31 AM

                                          Iroquois white corn flour mixed in makes the best pancakes. 1/3 ratio with flour. It gives the pancake a nice texture and flavor.

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