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Paul Tepper

Wolfert No Stir Polenta

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Over the years, I've happily and successfully made Paula Wolfert's no-stir polenta. In the last year or so, the polenta has been turning out grainy. I've tried a number of different brands of polenta.

Is this a case of bad karma or have others noticed something similar?

Paul


Edited by Paul Tepper (log)

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I do not know Paula Wolfert's method, but as often as not I make thick polenta in a double boiler without stiring (except initially).

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A Zojirushi rice cooker, two cycles using the "porridge" setting. Meant for congee, this setting won't boil away all the water, so it's perfect also for steel cut oats. I used this setting today to cook a potato to use later in a Spanish tortilla. Very handy.


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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Wolfert's no-stir method works perfectly for me, every time. If you have the same problem regardless of polenta brands, maybe it's your oven temperature.



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Over the years, I've happily and successfully made Paula Wolfert's no-stir polenta. In the last year or so, the polenta has been turning out grainy. I've tried a number of different brands of polenta.

Is this a case of bad karma or have others noticed something similar?

I don't use the Wolfert method, but a number of years ago Cook's Illustrated (March, 2010) came out with their no-stir polenta method. In it, they add a tiny amount (say 1/8 tsp.) of baking soda when the polenta is added to the boiling water.

If I can find the recipe, I'll post it. Their web site states:

For quick polenta with a creamy texture and deep corn flavor, we searched for the right type of cornmeal and a technique to hasten its cooking. Coarse-ground, degerminated cornmeal gave us the soft but hearty texture and nutty flavor we were looking for. A pinch of baking soda cut cooking time in half and eliminated the need for stirring, giving us the best quick polenta recipe.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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I have used this for many years as well and never had a "grainy" problem. I don't use any particular brand, whatever I can get easily in the local grocery store. I do follow the recipe closely with little or no variation.

I love this recipe. It is a very easy way to serve a great polenta without having to babysitting it when guests are coming over.


Life is short, eat dessert first

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A pinch of baking soda cut cooking time in half and eliminated the need for stirring, giving us the best quick polenta recipe.

I'm curious if one can pick out the flavor difference in a blind tasting, and if one cares?

This New York Times profile of Christopher Kimball confirmed all my gut feelings about Cooks Illustrated: http://www.nytimes.c...er-kimball.html

The trouble with listening to a comedian is that you know they're leading up to a joke. Same with a CI recipe, there's always the zinger they're proud of, and they won't publish otherwise. Fine if one has a "Hints from Heloise" view of the kitchen. I see a fair fight between the greatest living individual chefs and the wisdom of entire nations, with CI not in the picture. (My French cooking teacher sides with the nations, and points out how much the individuals are borrowing. Nevertheless, he calls tradition "the last bad performance." http://www.lacuisinesanspeur.com)

I do try to keep an open mind, CI technique by technique. "We couldn't taste the difference" is always an interesting partial argument. Anyone who puts enough effort into cooking ends up limited by their perceptions, so if you give anyone credit for effort, "We couldn't taste the difference" should be what you expect them to say.


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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Over the years, I've happily and successfully made Paula Wolfert's no-stir polenta. In the last year or so, the polenta has been turning out grainy. I've tried a number of different brands of polenta.

Is this a case of bad karma or have others noticed something similar?

Paul

Maybe something (perhaps otherwise imperceptible) has changed in your water chemistry?

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