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Thread: masa harina or corn meal?

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    MissMuffins's Avatar
    MissMuffins is offline Senior Member
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    masa harina or corn meal?

    I'm making sweet corn cake, apparently also known as corn spoon bread or corn pudding. The recipe I'm using calls for both masa harina and corn meal...but the box of corn meal I bought says "cornmeal" on one side and "masa harina" on the other! Is there a difference?

    MM
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    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    I'm making sweet corn cake, apparently also known as corn spoon bread or corn pudding. The recipe I'm using calls for both masa harina and corn meal...but the box of corn meal I bought says "cornmeal" on one side and "masa harina" on the other! Is there a difference?

    MM
    I am just chipping in to say I have no clue.

    Apparently masa harina is the dough used to make Mexican tortillas. I have never used it, but you could try and find it at a Mexican store.
    What I know is that Mexican tortillas are made from white corn, while I am not sure if cornmeal is made from yellow corn.
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    MissMuffins is offline Senior Member
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    Okay, I broke down and looked it up.

    Masa harina is masa fresca which has been dried and pulverized, and has the texture of wheat flour used in baking. Masa fresca is made from field corn which has been soaked in slaked lime. Add water to masa harina and you've got masa for tortillas, tamales, etc.

    Cornmeal is coarse (like farina) and hasn't been treated with slaked lime (which loosens the hulls and makes the niacin which is in corn easier for humans to digest).

    While it is not recommended to substitute cornmeal (or wheat flour,for that matter) for masa harina, the recipe I was making didn't suffer for it. I was making a sweet corn pudding/porridge, but other recipes would definitely be affected in a bad way.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 01-19-2015 at 07:57 PM.
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

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