- 2/3 cup plus 2 whole-grain or stone-ground yellow cornmeal, divided
- 1/3 cup yellow corn grits, or very coarse-grained uncooked polenta
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups unbleached bread flour, (see Note), plus more as needed
- 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour, preferably white whole-wheat (see Note)
- 5 tablespoon millet, or sesame seeds, divided
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 3/4 teaspoon instant, quick-rising or bread-machine yeast
- 1/3 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoon corn oil, canola oil or other flavorless vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup ice water, (see Tip), plus more as needed
Mix dough: Place 2/3 cup cornmeal and corn grits (or polenta) in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in boiling water until well blended and lump-free. Let stand until barely warm. Thoroughly stir 2 cups bread flour, whole-wheat flour, 3 tablespoons millet (or sesame seeds), sugar, salt and yeast in a 4-quart (or larger) bowl. Thoroughly stir yogurt and oil into the cornmeal mixture. Stir 3/4 cup ice water into the cornmeal mixture until smoothly incorporated. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the flour mixture, scraping down the sides and mixing just until the ingredients are thoroughly blended; it may seem too dry initially, but it usually comes together with sufficient stirring. The dough should be moist and somewhat sticky, but fairly stiff. If the mixture is still too dry, stir in just enough additional ice water to facilitate mixing, but don’t overmoisten. If the dough is too wet, stir in just enough flour to stiffen slightly. Lightly coat the top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wra
First rise: Let the dough rise at room temperature (about 70°F) for 12 to 18 hours; if convenient, stir once partway through the rise. For convenience (and improved flavor), you may refrigerate the dough for 3 to 12 hours before starting the first rise.
Second rise: Generously coat a 31/2- to 5-quart Dutch oven (or similar ovenproof pot) with oil. Coat the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon each cornmeal and millet (or sesame seeds). Vigorously stir the dough to deflate it. If it’s soft and very sticky, stir in just enough bread flour to yield a firm but moist dough (it should be fairly hard to stir). Transfer the dough to the pot. Lightly coat the dough with oil, then smooth the top using a well-oiled rubber spatula or your fingertips. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon each cornmeal and millet (or sesame seeds) and pat down. Put the lid on the pot or tightly cover with foil.
Let rise at warm room temperature until the dough is double the deflated size, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. (For an accelerated rise, see Tip.)
15 minutes before baking: Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Generously sprinkle or spritz the loaf with water.
Bake, cool, slice: Bake the loaf on the lower rack, covered, until lightly browned and crusty, 60 to 70 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until nicely browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 204-206°), 10 to 15 minutes longer. Cool in the pot on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the loaf out on the rack and let cool to at least warm before serving. The loaf is good warm but slices best when cool.