Whole-Wheat Cornmeal Bread
By S. John Ross ©2000

After being diagnosed as diabetic, a big part of the dietary changes I've had to make has been tight control of carhbohydrate intake.

But, not all carbohydrates are created equal. 15 grams of carbs from a white flour tortilla will send my blood sugar through the roof. 15 grams of carbs from a white corn tortilla will barely jostle it. Every food scores differently on the "glycemic index" and some foods that are safe by themselves become more hazardous in combination with other foods, and vice-versa. So far, medical science is at a loss to predict these interactions, or even the specific glycemic affect of a food on a given patient . . . The only way to know how any given food affects you is to eat it, wait an hour or two, and take a glucose test. Doing this gives you a road map to follow.

I'm pretty close to the average when it comes to corn versus flour (corn is better for me) and the effects of fiber on blood sugar (fiber slows the absorption of carbohydrates slightly, softening the "spike"). That's where this bread comes in: a hearty, crusty loaf made from two parts 100% whole-wheat flour, and one part cornmeal.

I don't eat any more of this bread than I would white bread. I eat the same amount (two hot dog rolls is the upper limit in a single meal), comfy in the knowledge that it will have a less dramatic effect on my blood sugar.

Not that I don't want to eat more . . . It's really good bread! Necessity is the mother of invention and all, but it's a pretty tasty invention. If somebody gives me a magic diabetes cure tomorrow, I'll still be baking this bread regularly!

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups water (very warm)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

This makes for a very hearty, crusty loaf of bread; it's also very good for hot dog or kaiser rolls (divide the loaf 16 ways for the former; 8 for the latter). To make it, use the same method I describe in my basic bread recipe, allowing 30-50% longer rising times.

This is a very nutritious bread. A 2-ounce hot dog roll (28.4 grams of carbohydrate) has more than 7 grams of protein in it (from all the added gluten, mostly) and it's packed with vitamins and fiber from the whole wheat flour. Good stuff!

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