Par-baked Mushroom Cornbread

Toasted cornbread with honey

This very tender bread captures two of summertime's best savory flavors: corn and wild black trumpet mushrooms, AKA Poor Man's Truffles. Available in many farmer's markets July through September (November through February on the West coast), black trumpets are earthy and intense. Placed into a bread that's designed for post-oven toasting makes a genuine treat.

Yield: One, 22 Oz (610 gram) loaf.

Time to make: 30 minutes plus overnight soak. 25 minutes oven dwell.

Tools needed: Large well-seasoned skillet. Food processor. 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" X 3" bread pan. 1 medium bowl. 1 large bowl.

Ingredients

2/3 cup (92 grams) fine-ground cornmeal
1 cup minus 1 TBLS (220 grams) buttermilk.
1 1/3 cups (200 grams) sorghum flour blend (see below)
2 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
1 teaspoon sugar.
3/4 teaspoon salt.
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
5/8 cup (160 grams) mushroom purée.

For mushroom purée

1/2 Lb fresh black trumpet or other woodsy-flavored mushrooms, such as portobello or porcini.
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature.
1 tsp soy sauce (gluten-free if necessary).

For sorghum blend

200 grams brown rice flour.
200 grams tapioca starch.
100 grams sorghum flour.
100 grams rolled oats.

Procedure: Place all ingredients into a large zip-lock bag, seal, and shake, twist and turn until flours are completely blended. Allow dust to settle before opening bag.

Procedure:


1) Make the mushroom purée. Using high heat, melt 1/2 stick of butter in a large, heavy skillet. Chop mushrooms into a coarse dice. When butter stops foaming and begins to shimmer, add mushrooms. Allow to sit without stirring about 1 minute, then toss, turn heat down to medium, and allow to sit another minute. Add soy sauce, stir, and allow to simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes, or until well-darkened. Note: It is difficult to tell when black trumpets are properly cooked. Watch closely to avoid crisping them.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add to a food processor and process to a smooth consistency. Add remaining 1 1/2 sticks butter and process until an even color. Butter may now be refrigerated, frozen, or used immediately.

2) Overnight Soak. Measure cornmeal into a medium bowl. Add buttermilk and stir until well-blended. Cover, and allow to stand at room temperature 12 - 24 hours.

3) Make the bread. Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease an 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" X 3" bread pan with butter, then dust with cornmeal or flour blend.

4) Add the sorghum blend to a large bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and xanthan gum, and stir until thoroughly blended. Add the cornmeal and buttermilk and stir until the batter is completely blended. Pour batter into prepared bread pan, smooth surface, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool in the bread pan about 10 minutes. Turn bread out and allow to cool completely.

6) Cut slices about 3/4" thick. Toast immediately or package and freeze for later consumption. Bread is best served with honey.