Polenta Rosemary Garlic Sourdough Bread

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Why make a sourdough bread with polenta?

It is an obvious question. One that I had when I first came across a sourdough bread made with porridge. All the answers were revealed as soon as I took my first bite. The crust was crunchy without being too hard. The crumb was airy but moist and tender. And the flavor – incredible.

You do have to watch the dough a little more carefully than you would your regular sourdough bread. The sugars and starches in the polenta can speed up fermentation, especially if it is warm where you live. But the extra looking after is worth it, in my opinion.

Sourdough Bread

For this bread you would need a coarse grind polenta. Polenta that is too fine will make the bread too gummy and dense.

Because polenta will retain a lot of moisture, you may reduce the amount of water in the dough if you do not like working with a VERY wet dough. If you have ever made corn tortillas, you know that it just absorbs all the water you add to it. All that absorbed water gets released back into the dough when you mix it and when you leave the dough to rise.

I give the dough a good five minute knead while mixing the polenta in. Kneading may not be the right term for the technique I use. It’s more like squish and fold . It’s what works the easiest. And then I give it a couple of stretch and folds to build strength from the get go. If you have not used the stretch and fold technique before, I recommend watching Peter Reinhart’s video posted in the link. It’s a great way to add gluten structure to the bread and make the dough strong.

After the first one or two stretch and folds, the dough is left to bulk ferment with a stretch and fold every 30 minutes.

Do you have to cook the polenta before adding it in ?

Some bakers just add the polenta to the dry ingredients and it works well. You will need to adjust your liquid ratio accordingly. I make this bread for the texture and moisture that adding cooked polenta adds to it. And for that reason I completely cook and cool the polenta before adding it.

5 from 3 votes

Polenta Rosemary Garlic Sourdough Bread

A moist and flavorful sourdough bread with polenta, rosemary and garlic

Course bread
Keyword Bread
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 Loaf


Build the Levain

  • 15 gm Sourdough starter
  • 25 gm Bread flour
  • 25 gm water


  • 500 gm Flour
  • 325 gm Water
  • 10 gm Salt
  • 60 gm Levain
  • 2 tbsp Rosemary chopped
  • 2 tbsp Garlic chopped

Porridge Element – Polenta

  • 85 gm Polenta coarse
  • 225 gm Water



  1. Mix all the ingredients of the levain and keep in a warm spot for 4 to 6 hours

  2. Starter will be ready when it more than doubles in volume

Cook Polenta

  1. Bring the water to a boil

  2. Add in the polenta and stir

  3. Cook until the water evaporates completely and polenta looks creamy (about 3 to 5 min)

  4. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and allow to cool completely

Prepare the dough

  1. Mix flour and water in a large bowl making sure all the flour is hydrated

  2. Cover and autolyse for about 45 min

  3. Mix the levain, polenta, rosemary, salt and garlic into the autolyse dough

  4. Knead for about 5 min. Work with slightly wet hands so that the dough doesn't stick to your hands.

  5. Give it one to two sets of stretch and folds until the dough tightens

  6. Put the dough back in the bowl for bulk fermentation

Bulk Ferment

  1. Depending on the ambient temperature, this step will take 3 to 4 hours

  2. Perform 4 to 6 sets of stretch and folds during this time (every 30 min)

  3. If your dough still feels wet, add another set of stretch and fold


  1. Remove the dough from the bowl onto your work surface and shape into a slight round

  2. Leave uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes. If you have reduced liquid content, then cover the dough and let it relax


  1. Lightly flour the counter and the top of the rounds and shape into a boule

  2. Make sure there is even and strong tension at the top

  3. Place into a cloth lined banneton, seam side up

Cold Proof

  1. Cover the banneton with a plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 12 hours


  1. One hour before baking, preheat your oven to 450 F and place the dutch oven with the lid on to preheat

  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and invert it on a parchment paper

  3. Score the bread and quickly remove your dutch oven from the preheated oven and remove the lid

  4. Lower the bread along with the parchment paper into the dutch oven, cover and place it in the oven

  5. Bake for 20 min with the lid on

  6. Remove the lid and bake for another 25 min or until the desired color is achieved

  7. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks

  8. Make sure the bread is completely cool before slicing

Recipe Notes

  1. Sometimes the dutch ovens get way too hot at the bottom resulting in a scorched base on the bread. To avoid that, take the bread out of the dutch oven after the 30 min mark and bake it on a flat surface. 
  2. Using parchment paper helps in lowering the bread into the dutch oven safely. It also comes handy when and if you have to move the bread out of the dutch oven
  3. Important Do not move the bread from the dutch oven if it appears to be soft and shaggy.  

I am joining the Bread Bakers this month to bring you breads with corn in all shapes and form. Stacy, who blogs at Food Lust People Love is our host this month. Thank you, Stacy for a wonderful theme and for Letting me join in the fun.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

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