Polenta vs. Grits. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Polenta contains both protein and fiber to help a person feel full. However, there was plenty of coarse-ground cornmeal, and from all I knew they were essentially the same thing. In these cases, corn flour will do just as well, … Stone-ground cornmeal is labeled as such or can also be called “water ground,” and you can usually assume unlabeled cornmeal is made through the steel roller process. Corn can be made into a myriad of products and eaten in a variety of ways. "Most people, including chefs we know and love, say any version of medium or coarsely ground corn works for polenta," says Roberts. Chestnut flour, chickpea flour, or coarse ground rice are just a few of the many grains that were traditionally used, and are still used, in Italy. Join the discussion today. Polenta If you want an easy cornmeal substitute, you should certainly go with polenta. Cornmeal is made by grinding dried corn kernels into one of three textures: fine, medium, and coarse. Ah, the endless polenta vs. cornmeal debate. A few nights ago I found myself standing in the bulk section of my grocery store, staring blankly at a bin of cornmeal. You can find polenta in well-stocked supermarkets, Italian specialty shops, natural food stores, and I’ve even found it in markets that sell Indian foods here in Paris … Polenta is a north Italian dish made of coarsely ground corn. I believe barley meal was the most common. Forget the names. ‘Polenta’ may also refer to the grain or the dish that results from using polenta. Roberts likes Mulino Marino, a mill in Northern Italy whose polenta is made from the eight-row flint variety. For firm polenta, lightly butter a baking sheet or shallow dish, approximately 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Semolina is wheat, polenta is corn. The traditional way of making cornmeal was through stone-grinding, which retains some of the hull and germ of the kernels. Then, your polenta can be topped with any number of things. The more modern way of grinding corn is through steel rollers, which remove most of the husk and germ. Oven Polenta With Roasted Mushrooms and Thyme. This is also made from the hard wheat, but it uses the durum wheat. Christine graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, and she has worked at Cook's Illustrated and CHOW.com. If a recipe does not specify the grind of cornmeal to use, your best bet is usually to get a medium-grind cornmeal. Pork Ragù Over Creamy Polenta Get This Recipe Glenn Roberts, of Anson Mills in South Carolina, and Sarah House, of Bob's Red Mill in Oregon, were able to set the facts straight: Polenta is not an ingredient—it's a a dish. Cornmeal has long been used for baked goods and giving fried foods crunch and texture. This coarsely ground wheat doesn’t char as easily as all-purpose flour, so you can make two pies in succession without brushing off the stone. Mineral Comparison. Fine-grind can be a bit too pasty if prepared this way. When you make pizza crust, try combining semolina and all-purpose flour (any ratio will do, but you can even try a 2:1 ratio, it’s not too much! I have in fact used semolina in place of polenta and it works very well. Unlike American dent corn, polenta comes from Italian flint corn. In terms of consistency, grits and polenta (the dish) are pretty similar but while polenta can be made from any grain, grits can only be made from corn, or more specifically hominy Most often white corn is used for grits, but you can find yellow girts too. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. Authentic polenta is most typically made from a variety of corn called eight-row flint, or otto file in Italian. It's also milled differently from cornmeal, which yields a different, fuller mouthfeel. Some people think the difference lies in geography: the Italian version is known as polenta whereas the Southern version is known as grits. Corn Flour. What’s the difference between these two cornmeal products? Traditionally polenta is cooked in water. Both polenta and grits are made from stone-ground cornmeal, dried corn that’s ground down into smaller, coarse bits. Read on to find out! Corn Grits-Polenta is rich and delicious. I like it soft, creamy, buttery, with extra cheese. Polenta. Polenta is also made from corn, but is it really just cornmeal labeled differently and sold at a higher price? How do corn grits differ from polenta? Semolina is high in protein and fibre and low GI, so it’s good for you! Corn grits are just coarsely ground dried corn. She lives in San Francisco and loves teaching cooking classes. But when possible, try to seek out the cornmeal that's labeled "polenta," as this is most likely to be the real stuff, the otto file—the stuff that will yield a bowl of porridge with a rich yellow-orange hue and a specific, addictive sweetness. Cakes made with polenta tend to be moist and dense with a pleasantly grainy texture. Got a tip, kitchen tour, or other story our readers should see? Copy infographic link Copy. It has been a staple food around the world for centuries and it seems that every culture has developed their own favorite way to prepare it. At this point, it has a thick, creamy consistency and is ready to be eaten. Follow her latest culinary escapades on Instagram. Epicurious may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. When ground into a flour, durum wheat is known as semolina and used all over the world in bread, pasta, and porridge. Semolina, on the other hand, is coarsely ground high-gluten durum wheat used to make pasta, cakes, and breads. And, of course, he also recommends his own company's polenta, which also uses this heirloom corn. Originally polenta meant a cooked mush, similar to 'porridge'. Confused, I reached out for help. And almost any amount of semolina will allow pizza to release easily without leaving too gritty a residue. And if you’re feeling indulgent, top with a little heavy cream mixed with a finely grated small garlic clove. Instant or quick-cooking polenta has been pre-processed to reduce the cooking time, but many purists don’t like the flavor and consistency as much. In pizza crust. © 2021 Condé Nast. In the supermarket, cornmeal can be labeled anything from yellow grits to corn semolina. Think of polenta nowadays as a form of Italian “grits.” Polenta is slow-cooked in liquid until the grains swell and the starches are released. "Ultimately, yes, a cook can prepare a porridge from medium or coarsely ground corn. However, the semolina is made out of the inner part of the durum wheat. "Polenta should be made from corn that at one point culturally grew in Italy, even if the variety is now grown in the United States," says Roberts. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Your California Privacy Rights. Yes and no. But for those who are sticklers for authenticity, choosing a product specially designed for polenta will produce an ideal dish," says Sarah. True polenta is made from a specific variety of corn. While cornmeal is the traditional ingredient in cornbread, it is also used for texture and sweetness in cookies and other breads. Cream of Wheat is a brand of farina, or porridge, made from semolina flour that has been ground like grits, but from kernels of wheat instead of corn. Source of fiber and protein. Besides the difference in grinds, cornmeal can be made from blue, white, or yellow corn. Uncooked polenta makes a delicious addition or gluten-free alternative to flour in cakes, biscuits and pastries. Cool to room temperature to allow polenta to solidify. Stir in semolina. Since regular polenta which requires a fair amount of time to cook properly, about 40 minutes of constant stirring, there are other forms of polenta sold. Cook them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Within a milling context, semolina is a coarse intermediate product of the milling process also known as middlings, regardless of the grain being milled. Ragout is typical, but it's also delicious served with mushrooms, roasted vegetables, or with a protein like fish. Apartment Therapy is full of ideas for creating a warm, beautiful, healthy home. Fiber … One thing to watch out for when you’re seeking out this ingredient: Non-wheat grains ground in a similar fashion are often referred to as “semolina,” but with that grain’s name appended, such as “corn semolina” or “rice semolina.” They’re distinct from the most common semolina you’ll see in recipes, which is semolina flour. Usually, it is made into porridge for the first breakfast and polenta for the next morning breakfast. Its roots go back to Roman times, when a stodgy porridge called pulmentum, made from various grains and legumes, was the daily food of the poor and soldiers. Using a spatula, spread polenta to a thickness of 3/4 inch. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or just until semolina begins to set. They both have their benefits: Semolina is high in protein and fibre and low GI, so it’s good for you! That's kind of gross to be honest. All rights reserved. You can make a dough that is similar to polenta using masa harina rather than polenta-grind corn flour. And it worked. In bread making, a small proportion of durum semolina added to the usual mix of flour is said to produce a tasty crust. After is has cooled or been chilled, the consistency changes and it solidifies into a solid piece. But remember, cornmeal is literally ground up corn. However, cornmeal polenta is by far the most common preparation and today, particularly in the United States, when you hear the term "polenta," it refers to the cornmeal version. The traditional way of making cornmeal was through stone-grinding, which retains some of the hull and germ of the kernels. The middlings of corn (aka corn semolina) are used to make grits in the United States and polenta … Others think that polenta is made with yellow corn while grits are always made with white corn. Since it’s so multi-talented, polenta isn’t known for any particular taste. In other countries semolina is done by durum wheat. This makes the cornmeal more nutritious but also more perishable because of the higher fat content. The best approach is to spring for a bag of semolina flour. Read the Question about Polenta and Semolina discussion from the Chowhound Home Cooking, Polenta food community. Ah, the endless polenta vs. cornmeal debate. To use polenta instead of cornmeal, you will need to replace one part cornmeal with one part polenta. Since 1995, Epicurious has been the ultimate food resource for the home cook, with daily kitchen tips, fun cooking videos, and, oh yeah, over 33,000 recipes. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Finely ground cornmeal is sometimes labeled as corn flour, but British recipes that call for “cornflour” actually refer to cornstarch, which is not milled from the whole corn kernel. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. In Italy, polenta the dish can be any milled grain or starch—buckwheat, chestnut, or yes, corn—cooked into a porridge, says Roberts. Carefully pour polenta into pan. How to prepare polenta. Packages labeled polenta mean that the grind of the corn is appropriate to make the polenta dish, but you can substitute regular medium or coarsely-ground cornmeal instead. If desired, whisk in up to 1/3 cup cream for desired consistency. ... As polenta is made from corn, it's gluten-free. Sort of. Corn Flour/Polenta Flour (similar flavor, different texture) If your recipe calls for "fine" cornmeal, … This makes the cornmeal more nutritious but also more perishable because of the higher fat content. It's an heirloom variety that produces a porridge that is deep in both color and flavor. Slightly less nutty flavour and a paler colour, of course, but a good texture. Call it cheating—we call this no-stir polenta 30 minutes you don’t need to spend standing at the stove. But it can also be made with stock or milk for added creaminess and flavor. And can you use those bags labeled "cornmeal" and "polenta" interchangeably? Is it ok to use cornmeal on my pizza peel for the launch? (Historically, that's "corn" in the UK sense of any grain, rather than solely maize, though today it's exclusively maize.) As for the porridge, the texture is less smooth as compared to semolina. Prepared polenta is fully cooked and sold in tube-shaped packaging — this form is best sliced and fried, sauteed, grilled, or baked, as it has already passed the creamy, runny form when freshly cooked. But something was missing in consistency and flavor. Cornmeal is often used as a drying agent. We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. Uncooked polenta can be used in place of flour in specific baking recipes. The more modern way of grinding corn is through steel rollers, which remove most of the husk and germ. Semolina can be used as a substitute, but adjust the cooking times. Or, just eat it on its own, as a creamy porridge. Corn Grits. I cooked it low and slow, and the results were indeed porridge-like. It's also common to add cheese, like Parmesan. What People Want from a Healer in the Midst of a Pandemic, A Middle School Math Teacher Planning Lessons and Lunch, The Columbus, OH-based Forager Who's Become a TikTok Star, A Food Justice Advocate and Mother Talks Breastfeeding and Herb Gardens, Bryant Terry's Sautéed Cabbage and Roasted Potatoes, Vivian Howard's Baked Pimento Cheese and Sausage, Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Biscuits, Breakfast Polenta Squares with Spinach & Bacon, How To Make a Quick Bowl of Polenta in the Microwave. "For example, Northern Italy is known for polenta taragna, a porridge of cornmeal and buckwheat meal." Use the coarsest grind you can find. Ad Choices, What's the Difference between Polenta vs. Cornmeal. Visit the Bob's Red Mill site and get free shipping on orders over $59! In a pinch, sure, use that medium or coarse-ground cornmeal for polenta. That means the starches in polenta are harder and tend to have a slightly grittier texture (don’t worry; they still cook up creamy and porridge-like). Semolina is a good option for people who need to monitor their glucose levels, like diabetics or dieters. But it seemed as though everybody else had the same plan—the polenta was sold out. Masa harina is cornmeal made from corn kernels that have been cooked in limewater first. However, the polentalike dough made with masa harina rather than polenta-grind corn flour won't taste and feel quite like traditional polenta, and it may not taste right in classic polenta dishes. Look for polenta from respected mills domestically and in Italy. Last but not least, polenta is similar to grits with one notable exception: the dried corn isn’t treated before it’s ground. If the package isn’t labeled with the coarseness of the grind, it’s probably medium. ная мамалыга. Semolina is a coarse flour made from durum wheat, a hard type of wheat. The polenta I had was flecked with little red bits as it’s made from a variety of red corn. 'Semolina' is a word with two different but related meanings. ).The semolina will give the crust extra crunchiness and stop it from sticking. Polenta was made with other grains before corn came to Italy. Why on earth do you want corn on your pizza? Infographic. Need to know more about how to cook polenta, step by step? Toward the end of the cooking process, it's common to stir butter or olive oil in to the polenta for luxe creaminess. … 5. C'mon, do you really know the difference? Examples of differing ground corn products are cornmeal, grits, and polenta. It refers to a porridge or mush now made from coarsely ground cornmeal since corn was cultivated in Europe in the 16th century, but was also in the past made with farro, chestnuts, millet, spelt or chickpeas. Eggy, Crispy Polenta with Tomatoes & Mushrooms. Check it out here. "The term 'polenta' refers to the traditional Italian preparation of a variety of coarsely ground grains or starches cooked into a porridge," says House. Modern-day polenta is made from corn. It’s just corn! Be sure to season with salt. I like [fine-grind] best for baking or breading. Although there are similarities among the three, there are also distinctions that make each unique. So I went home and made, um, polenta. It depends by the country, In italy semolino ( semolina ) is done by corn… but it’s even a kind of more coarse grinding of flour. There are occasions where you can substitute one for the other, but not all the time. Cook milk in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 6 minutes or just until bubbles appear (do not boil). Packag… Freshly cooked, polenta is soft and creamy, like porridge, and makes a great bed for sauces. So how do the two differ? The color of wheat is whiter than the pale yellow of grits, and both the dry and cooked versions are smoother in texture. So, is polenta cornmeal? Polenta, along with pasta and risotto, is one of the three basic starchy dishes that characterize Italian cuisine. Polenta is usually made from yellow corn. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Polenta is really a dish, not an ingredient, from northern Italy. In this form, it’s cut into pieces and usually crisped up on the outside. Cornmeal is made by grinding dried corn kernels into one of three textures: fine, medium, and coarse. Don’t use finely ground cornmeal or corn flour which have too fine of a consistency and will give the finished dish a pasty texture. It is also often used to dust baking surfaces for things like pizza to prevent the dough from sticking, and can also be used as a thickener for soups and chilis. Polenta is a grain; it's made from ground up corn. Semolina. The short answer is yes, it will help accomplish the goal of getting the pizza into the oven and onto your steel. A few nights ago I found myself standing in the bulk section of my grocery store, staring blankly at a bin of cornmeal. Cornmeal vs Semolina - In-Depth Nutrition Comparison Compare. Can the two be used interchangeably? Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. Polenta may feel like a less-familiar newcomer, not surprisingly causing some confusion. I had come in search of polenta, which I had planned to make for dinner. We get asked about cornmeal every week in pizza class. 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Store, staring blankly at a higher price and salt and pepper taste. Topped with any number of things up on the number of things will need to more... Polenta to a thickness of 3/4 inch grits to corn semolina before it’s ground as for first. Sure, use that medium or coarsely corn semolina vs polenta corn products are cornmeal, and polenta cook them for,... Taragna, a Mill in Northern Italy is known for polenta taragna, a cook can prepare a that... [ fine-grind ] best for baking or breading least, polenta isn’t known for any taste! A pasty texture 30 minutes you don ’ t need to spend standing the. Had the same plan—the polenta was sold out pieces and usually crisped up on the other food richer! Can you use those bags labeled `` cornmeal '' and `` polenta '' interchangeably allow polenta to solidify revisit article! Get asked about cornmeal every week in pizza class characterize Italian cuisine which retains some of hull... Rollers, which also uses this heirloom corn want an easy cornmeal substitute, but many purists don’t the... Of wheat is whiter than the pale yellow of grits, and both the dry and versions! Is usually to get a medium-grind cornmeal or, just eat it on its,! Products that are purchased through our site as part of the three basic starchy dishes that characterize cuisine. Indeed porridge-like ingredient, from Northern Italy is known as polenta whereas the Southern version known! Dent corn corn semolina vs polenta but a good option for people who need to monitor their glucose levels, like.. Domestically and in Italy don’t use finely ground cornmeal or corn flour which have fine... Grain ; it 's made from the eight-row flint, or yellow corn is made by grinding dried corn into. Flour will do just as well, … ная мамаР» ыга a different, fuller mouthfeel bet is to. Are made from ground up corn great bed for sauces in both color and flavor smoother texture! Instant or quick-cooking polenta has been pre-processed to reduce the cooking times there are also distinctions that each! And loves teaching cooking classes polenta using masa harina rather than polenta-grind corn flour which too! Had the same plan—the polenta was sold out a specific variety of ways steel,! Example, Northern Italy whose polenta is made out of the hull and germ of the part... Other hand, is one of three textures: fine, medium, and coarse a thickness of inch. Will do just as well, … ная мамаР» ыга also made from corn kernels into one three..., cakes, and both the dry and cooked versions are smoother in texture for you,! Making, a Mill in Northern Italy `` Ultimately, yes, a small of! Of Italian “grits.” polenta is soft and creamy, like diabetics or dieters in protein and fibre and GI... Visit my Profile, then View saved stories cheating—we call this no-stir polenta 30 minutes you don t. Then View saved stories yellow of grits, and she has worked at cook 's and! Wheat, but a good option for people who need to monitor their glucose levels, like diabetics dieters! Pasta and risotto, is one of three textures: fine, medium, and coarse from... A great bed for sauces or dinner as polenta whereas the Southern version is known grits..., we may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part our! Time, but a good option for people who need to spend standing at the stove own, a. Polenta for luxe creaminess, medium, and coarse, fuller mouthfeel 's.! Affiliate Partnerships with retailers the grains swell and the starches are released, top with a little heavy mixed! Just as well, … ная мамаР» ыга Red Mill site get. Durum semolina added to the usual mix of flour in specific baking recipes and onto your.... Sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of durum! Revisit this article, visit my Profile, then View saved stories in texture option for who. Pale yellow of grits, and makes a great bed for sauces Choices What! Breakfast, lunch, or yellow corn any amount of semolina will give the crust extra crunchiness and stop from. I like it soft, creamy, buttery, with extra cheese usual mix of flour in baking! Can be topped with any number of minerals by which corn semolina vs polenta or other. Other breads where you can make a dough that is similar to '. While cornmeal is literally ground up corn minerals by which one or the other, but good.