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Purely a theoretical question I'm afraid - I haven't experimented (yet). If you take popped popcorn and grind it to a flour, would the result be similar to cornmeal? One difference, I imagine, is that it is in principle ready to eat, as opposed to regular cornmeal which still needs to be cooked to denature the proteins.

Are there things you could achieve with this "popcorn meal" that don't work with regular cornmeal? For example, what would you get if you used this for making polenta? Could you make a "raw polenta" that doesn't require much cooking?

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Can't saw what the difference would be, but popcorn (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popcorn) is a different plant (subspecies) from sweet corn. –  Ray Jul 18 '11 at 19:07
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Do you mean drying and grinding popped pop corn or grinding raw kernels. Assuming the former: You could probably effectively create the same thing by grinding corn flakes into a powder. –  Tremmors Jul 18 '11 at 20:54
    
@Tremmors : edited the post to clarify that it is indeed popped popcorn that I'm talking about. –  Erik P. Jul 18 '11 at 21:39

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Interesting question. so I pulled out a hot air popper (you wouldn't want to use a oil popper to try this.) and put some popped dry corn into a food process and let-her-rip. I wouldn't call the results "masa" but it might be usable for an ingredient in a breading.

I call your attention to the book "POPCORN". It has a nice collection of recipes which include popcorn, and in no case does the author suggest reducing popcorn to corn meal, so I suspect the answer is, "Yes, ground popcorn meal would differ from ground corn."

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If you took popped corn, dried it out and ground it up; I have a feeling you would end up with something very close to masa de maiz. You'd probably end up with some random kernel hulls thrown in there giving you a really odd texture. Masa is a flour/meal produced by drying out and grinding nixtamalized corn. Basically the raw corn is cooked in an alkalai solution until it splits and gelatinizes. That is either made directly into a dough (for any number of things) or is dried and ground into a shelf stable corn meal like substance (Masa de maiz). Masa can be re-hydrated back into dough months later.

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