Basque Cornbread (Pain De Maïs)

READY IN: 4hrs 45mins
YIELD: 2 loaves


  • 14
    cup honey
  • 3
    cups water (warm 100-115 F, too hot will kill the yeast)
  • 4 12
    teaspoons active dry yeast (1/2 oz)
  • 4 12 - 5
  • 3
    cups cornmeal (plus extra cornmeal to dust baking sheet) or 3 cups polenta (plus extra cornmeal to dust baking sheet)
  • 1
    tablespoon salt
  • 14
    cup olive oil (plus olive oil to coat bowl)
  • 1
  • 2
    tablespoons milk


  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together honey, water, and yeast until smooth (1 minute); let stand in a warm spot until a thin layer of foam covers the surface (5-10 minutes).
  • Add 1 cup of the bread flour and the cornmeal and salt; mix well.
  • Cover bowl, and let dough rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Stir in oil and 3 cups flour, scraping and folding until the dough comes away from sides of bowl and gathers into a single mass.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (10 minutes), adding flour as needed to keep dough from sticking.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl, turning to coat all sides; transfer dough to bowl.
  • Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Punch dough down, cover, and let rise for 35 minutes.
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet and dust with cornmeal if making rounds or grease 2 (9-inch) loaf pans if making loaves.
  • Cut dough in half and shape each half into either a round or a loaf.
  • Let dough rest, covered loosely with a towel, for 20 minutes.
  • Beat eggs with milk to use as a glaze; brush dough with egg mixture.
  • Bake until bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (50 minutes).
  • Remove from pan and cool on rack.