I often serve wedges of this hearty bread warm from the oven with my zesty herb butter and a simple tossed salad for dinner. My husband and teenage son just love it!—Sue Stamper, Grayson, Kentucky
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2 cups warm buttermilk (110° to 115°)
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 to 2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal, divided
- 5 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2-1/2 cups ground fully cooked ham
- HERB BUTTER:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup chopped chives
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Dash pepper
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the buttermilk, egg, sugar, butter, pepper, salt, cayenne, 1 cup cornmeal and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Beat in ham. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each portion into a round loaf. Sprinkle two greased 9-in. round baking pans with remaining cornmeal. Place loaves in prepared pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.
- In a small bowl, beat the butter, chives, parsley, lemon juice and pepper. Serve with bread. Store ham bread and herb butter in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 loaves (2/3 cup butter).
Originally published as Country Ham Bread in Country Woman March/April 2000, p38
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