Monday, May 13, 2013

maseca cornbread

Last weekend when I made the black bean chili, I made a cornbread to go with it. Except instead of regular cornmeal, I used Maseca flour.

The only cornmeal I’ve been able to find here is instant polenta. Actually, I found a box of cornmeal once, in a hole-in-the-wall shop, but I didn’t buy it (silly me) and I’ve never seen it anywhere else since.

The instant polenta works fine as cornmeal. The resulting cornbread is a little heavier than normal (I prefer my home-ground yellow popcorn), but still yummy.

The cornbread made with maseca, however, was completely different. There was none of the coarse grittiness that comes with cornbread. It was soft and tender. It was like cake, but with a corn tortilla-y flavor. We loved it.

(I still love my cornmeal cornbread, but after reading this post, I do wonder if maseca cornbread might have some nutritive benefits.)

Of course, considering that the K’ekchi’ love anything and everything related to corn, I taught the girls how to make it. We made only six double recipes and sold it all, much to the disappointment of those who didn’t jump-jump into the buying and eating frenzy.

Maseca Cornbread
Adapted from my standard recipe.

Updated: The results of more experimentation (no white flour and nearly all maseca and then some whole wheat, maseca, a bit of cornmeal, etc) were all a success!

1 cup maseca flour
1 cup white flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup oil

Mix dry ingredients. Whisk in wet. Pour batter into a greased 9x9-inch baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm. Pass the butter and honey.

Ps. All photos, except for the one of the flours, are from the baking day at Bezaleel.


  1. Fascinating! I may have to try this! I don't like crumbly cornbread with 3 young boys underfoot... I have been frying my cornbread, but this might be a good alternative.

  2. well, fascinating. maybe I should add masa as a pantry staple.

  3. So how exactly does maseca differ from cornmeal?

  4. I've already taken to making my cornbread with cornmeal that has been soaked overnight, or at least during the day. Makes me feel like it's worth making; it isn't just barely moistened cornmeal that's going right through me. So making it with masa makes tons of sense. I bet it was good! Now I just wish I could find maseca at all around here.

    Suburban Correspondent: My understanding is that maseca is basically ground hominy -- corn kernels soaked in lye, skins rubbed off, dried, ground. Way more digestable than regular cornmeal which is just dry corn, ground.

    1. So, with the skins rubbed off, is that like taking the bran off the wheat? Is it less of a whole grain that way?

    2. Well, arguably, anytime you remove anything from a grain it becomes less than whole. ... But I don't know of any nutritive benefits of corn skin. Any store bought cornmeal also has the skins removed, just likely through sifting after grinding. So in this way, the two products aren't really different.

  5. This makes me think that it would be good to combine corn meal in with this recipe, too...maybe half maseca, half corn meal. I think I will try that next time!!

    1. Michelle, I like this idea. If it can be made with 100 percent maseca (next experiment!), than what about omitting all the white flour and using half maseca and the other half cornmeal? Hmm...

  6. Oh, thank you for this recipe! I have a whole bag of that and I need something to do with it. (I need to practice making tortillas out of it as well but I haven't been too successful yet)

  7. Just made this tonight as muffins and added 3/4 cup of frozen corn. So good!

  8. I use half Maseca, half cornmeal as a kinda standard substitute for straight cornmeal. Maseca has a wonderfully nutty, characteristic Mexican flavor, to me there is no substitute. I used the above recipe to make a sort of tamale pie, with leftover pork mole. OMG, it was heavenly! Thank you for a real keeper of a recipe!

  9. This was such a wonderful recipe, thank you very much. I followed Jessica May's idea of adding some frozen corn before baking and I only had whole wheat flour and almond milk on hand, otherwise followed it to the recipe and it turned out great. I topped it with my vegetarian taco mix and it created a sort of mexican-style smothered biscuit.

  10. Worked great! Cooked fine on the BBQ too.