Mealie Bread (Corn Bread ) is essentially bread made from maize pulp and without or a combination of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. Whenever I think of mealie bread I think of the mealie plants we once grew. I think of their suede like leaves, stripy ears and hair like silks that my younger sister and I pretend played as moustaches. Most vivid is that characteristic dulcet smell of the milky liquid contained within the maize kernels. A smell that will always remind me of Amma by her blue enamel dish cutting maize kernels off the cob in preparation for her mealie bread. This image will always have sentimental place in my thoughts - since I spent many evenings and school holidays in my childhood together with my sisters, Amma and my father sowing or harvesting our mealies, shelling them or roasting them on the open fire , eating boiled mealies with butter ,participating in Amma’s homemade samp project or enjoying Amma’s mealie bread with mixed fruit jam!
Is It Mealie Bread Or Mealie Cake?
Although the term 'bread' is often associated with yeast based dough- there are several non yeast breads. Much like soda bread – mealie bread is also one such bread that relies on baking powder as a raising agent rather than yeast but adopts the name bread despite its cake like texture. Amma was fond of making mealie bread from the abundant mealie produce from our gardens. She would make a large steamed mealie bread and with the excess batter she would make smaller ones in her queen cake tray - typical of Amma - not a drop wasted!
Mealie Bread...Like Amma Used To Make It
Amma’s mealie bread was made by steaming a batter of mealie pulp, flour, margarine, eggs, sugar and baking powder. Excess batter was used to make mini baked versions of this maize treat. Amma used a knife to remove the kernels off the mealie cob then grind to a pulp in her orange mincer. She would use the mealie cobs to prop the mealie bread in the steaming pot. This ingenius structural device also resulted in a sweet aroma of mealies wafting through the house as the mealie bread steamed.
Although mealie bread can be baked it is best prepared steamed. This gentle cooking method cooks the maize without it resulting in a rubbery texture. This recipe is cake like using equivalent maize pulp and flour. For a less dense mealie cake reduce the flour content replacing it with the equivalent amount of mealie pulp.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Steamed Mealie Bread Recipe
Steamed Mealie Bread Recipe
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Yield: 12 cm diameter round cake + 6 mini muffins; for larger quantities increase all ingredients proportionately.
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1¼ cup mealie pulp (from 2 large mealies) or sweet corn
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 40g butter
- 40g sugar (add more if you prefer to be sweeter)
- Half teaspoon salt
- 1. Wash and prepare the mealies. Use a knife to extract the kernels off the mealie cob. Blend until a smooth paste like texture forms. Set aside.
- 2. Sift the flour and baking powder. Add salt. In a separate bowl cream the eggs butter and sugar.
- 3. Combine the mealie pulp with the egg mixture then add to the flour to form a smooth cake like batter.
- 4. Place in a lined cake pan then cover in foil or baking paper. Tie securely with a piece of string or rubber bands. Place in a pot with three quarters water. Or in a steam pot. If using a regular pot use the mealie cobs as props to support the cake pan. Cover and allow to steam for 2-3 hours on medium heat. Every 20-30 minutes check the water level. If low add a little boiled water this will maintain the temperature in the pot – helping to cook the mealie bread evenly.
- 5. After 2 hours use a toothpick to test of cooked. If the toothpick is clear of batter then the mealie cake is cooked if not leave until it is cooked. Allow to cool then slice.
- 6. Serve with butter or jam or as desired...with a cup of tea.
Baked Mealie Bread Recipe
- To make baked mealie bread. Follow instructions as in the steamed mealie bread recipe. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 180 degree celcius oven.
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