Cornmeal and masa?

topic posted Thu, November 23, 2006 - 1:18 PM by  Samantha

I went to the store to get cornmeal in the blue and orange box and it wasn't there. The lady told me that Albers had to recall their cornmeal due to an "insect infestation" so it was all out. This Safeway carries two kinds of masa in 5 lb. bags, one that the label says is specifically for tamales.

Can I use masa instead of cornmeal for regular Amaricean cornbread, muffins, and corncakes? My experience with cornmeal is that it is rather coarse, but I've never seen masa, and don't know how much it is like cornmeal, or if tamale cornmeal is coarser or finer than "regular."

For the record I know that masa is cornmeal, I'm assuming that perhaps the grinds are different?
posted by:
SF Bay Area
  • Re: Cornmeal and masa?

    Thu, November 23, 2006 - 3:01 PM
    Masa is made from corn that is leeched with lime (like hominy) and is more finely ground. So taste and texture will be different.
  • Re: Cornmeal and masa?

    Fri, November 24, 2006 - 9:23 AM
    Sam, Ken's right. The cornmeal in masa will have already have the lime in it (with a little baking powder in some brands), so the taste and texture will be pretty different. Most are fine ground so that it's flour consistency. Traditional cornmeal is course ground, you're right about that. If you want to use the masa flour you may want to try making it with a can of either creamed corn or maybe some evaporated milk, or both, with a little sugar to give it a sweeter taste for your muffins, bread or cakes. If you can find it, you might look for Red Mill brand cornmeal. It's excellent and usually comes in clear plastic bags. Good luck!
    • Re: Cornmeal and masa?

      Fri, November 24, 2006 - 9:38 PM
      Thanks friends, I'm glad I didn't buy a five pound bag before checking with y'all!

      I didn't know about the lime, but the bags felt more like they were filled with flour-like substance as opposed to what I think of as cornmeal.
      • Re: Cornmeal and masa?

        Fri, November 24, 2006 - 10:02 PM

        The flour used to make masa for tamales and tortillas is made from "nixtamal", which is corn soaked in lime, boiled, and then ground to different textures depending on what it's for... So it's quite different from cornmeal... And if it's in a bag, it'll make horrible tortillas... Ick!

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