How to Make Cornmeal (with Images)

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How to Make Cornmeal (with Images)
How to Make Cornmeal (with Images)
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With the right tools, you can make your own cornmeal from dry whole corn kernels or unprocessed popcorn. Homemade cornmeal is generally less processed than commercial versions, which leaves it with higher nutritional quality and a stronger flavor.

Steps

Part 1 of 4: Gathering the Corn and Equipment

Make Cornmeal Step 1

Step 1. Choose the corn

You can use almost any type of corn as long as the kernels have dried properly. This tutorial covers the process for frozen corn.

  • If using frozen corn, you will need a 500 gram bag.
  • You can use any variety of local corn if you're a little more adventurous, but the process may take longer as the product needs to be dried off the stalk. The best variety for this method is hard corn, also known as a kernel, but sweet corn will do as well.
  • The easiest option would be to use uncooked popcorn. It will not be necessary to dehydrate the product, as it is already dry.

Step 2. Get a crushing instrument

Electric and manual grain crushers are the best options as you will have greater control of the process. It takes a lot of force with a manual, especially when crushing something the thickness and size of corn.

Buy an electric shredder over the internet or at a farm

Make Cornmeal Step 2

Step 3. In the absence of a grinder, use a high-powered blender to prepare small amounts of cornmeal

Use only high-powered blenders: a standard instrument may not be strong enough to grind dry corn kernels, so avoid this process.

For small amounts, you can use a mortar and pestle, a spice grinder or a coffee grinder

Part 2 of 4: Dehydrating corn

Make Cornmeal Step 3

Step 1. Spread corn on dehydrator tray

Open a 500g packet of frozen corn and spread on the tray in a single layer. The layer needs to be uniform. If using fresh corn, remove the husk and use a sharp kitchen knife to remove the kernels from the cob. A large ear of corn usually has 500 grams.

It is possible to dehydrate the beans directly from freezing. If some are stuck together by ice, tap them on a table to separate them

Make Cornmeal Step 4

Step 2. Set the instrument to 50 °C after placing the tray in the dehydrator

Place the tray in the dehydrator and adjust the temperature to start the process. As the temperature needs to be very low, use a dehydrator instead of an oven.

Most traditional ovens do not reach such a low temperature as this to dry the corn without cooking it

Make Cornmeal Step 5

Step 3. Dehydrate for between 8 and 12 hours

Check the beans after eight hours. Remove them from the appliance if they are completely dry; otherwise, continue dehydrating as needed, checking the status every 30 to 60 minutes. To check the progression of the corn, pick up some grains and handle them between your fingers. Dried beans will no longer have a flexible, malleable consistency.

If the beans are no longer flexible, try another test by dropping them on a hard surface such as a counter or table. The sound should be a distinct “click” when they are ready

Make Cornmeal Step 6

Step 4. Store until ready to use

If you are going to make the cornmeal right away, transfer the corn to a medium bowl and set aside. Otherwise, place in a closed container or plastic bag. The resealable plastic bags can be used if you plan to use the beans within a week or two. If you want to store it longer, use a bottle or a closed plastic container.

Store in a dry, dark place at room temperature if you are going to use it within a month. If you are going to store it longer, refrigerate or freeze

Part 3 of 4: Crushing the Corn

Make Cornmeal Step 7

Step 1. Grind dry corn in the coarsest grind setting

Grind about two cups (150 grams) of dehydrated corn at a time. When you want a lot of cornmeal, you will need to grind several batches. Put the corn in the funnel and turn the crank to grind. Leave a bowl or other type of container under the shredder to store the processed corn.

  • The method for adjusting the machine's grind will vary depending on the appliance. Check your grinder instruction manual to determine the correct procedure. Normally, you can adjust the grind with a lever on the side of the machine.
  • If you are grinding with a pestle, fill the corn mortar halfway. Use the pestle to grind the corn into small pieces, kneading it into the sides and bottom of the mortar.
  • When using an electric grinder or a powerful blender, you will need to push a button instead of turning a crank. Some blenders allow you to adjust the coarseness of the grind.
Make Cornmeal Step 8

Step 2. Sift the product

Pour the coarsely ground corn into a fine mesh sieve and gently shake from side to side to separate the fine pieces from the larger ones. The ideal is to use a very fine sieve with holes of about 1 to 1.5 mm. Larger holes can let out very thick pieces, which are not classified as cornmeal.

Collect the small pieces in a separate bowl under the sieve and return the large pieces to the machine funnel

Make Cornmeal Step 9

Step 3. Grind the corn using a finer setting

Re-adjust the mill plates, setting to medium thickness. Grind larger pieces as before. In general, individual corn kernels will be about three millimeters at this stage.

It is important to change the thickness to a finer setting in this step; otherwise, the thicker pieces will no longer be crushed

Make Cornmeal Step 10

Step 4. Sift the product

Transfer the new batch of ground corn to a finer sieve and move from side to side, allowing the finer pieces to pass through the net and collect in the cornmeal bowl.

You'll likely collect more cornmeal during this step than before, but in most cases, you'll still have a fair amount of coarser grain in the sieve

Make Cornmeal Step 11

Step 5. Grind the corn into an even finer setting

Re-adjust the mill to a medium/fine consistency. Return the coarser beans to the funnel and grind a third time.

The machine needs to be set to finer grades, but avoid the finer one. Even for the consistency of cornmeal, ground corn can be too coarse to pass through the finest mill configuration

Make Cornmeal Step 12

Step 6. Separate the remaining cornmeal and beans

Sift the ground corn one more time, collecting the cornmeal very fine in the original bowl and retaining the coarsest grains.

  • At this point, you should have more of the cornmeal than the remaining grains, and the cornmeal should be about the same amount as the dry corn at the start of the process.
  • However, if you are still not satisfied with the amount of cornmeal produced, grind the coarse grains one more time. After that, sift again. The amount resulting from the fourth time you sift will be less than the previous times. Also, grinding more than four times can end up being less beneficial.
  • If you are satisfied with the remaining amount of grain, try to store and prepare it the same way you would with commercial grain.

Part 4 of 4: Storage

Make Cornmeal Step 13

Step 1. Use cornmeal after preparing it

You can use right away – same day or next day use retains the maximum amount of nutrients and flavor. Use homemade cornmeal in recipes like corn cake, mashed cornmeal and dough to make a breaded fish.

You can also use it in any recipe that calls for cornmeal, including couscous

Make Cornmeal Step 15

Step 2. Place what you are not going to use in a sealed plastic bag

Place it in a sealed freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and leave only 3 centimeters of open space in it (for the seal).

  • Use a straw to suck as much of the remaining air as possible through the bag opening. Do this carefully to avoid accidental inhalation of cornmeal.
  • Pack the product into a jar or container, leaving a small empty space. Close and take to a cool, dark place. Under these conditions, cornmeal will last from nine to 12 months.
Make Cornmeal Step 14

Step 3. Freeze what is left of cornmeal if you are not going to use it

Pack the product into a jar or container, leaving a small empty space. Close and place in the freezer. It can stay up to 24 months in the freezer.

You can usually use cornmeal directly from the freezer without having to thaw, but for temperature-sensitive recipes, thaw at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before use

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