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I've cooked my first polenta.

it was too dampish, without shape, but also not easily sectile: it couldnt be easily cut.

What should I do better next time?

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How much water or cornmeal did you use? How long did you let it cook? – Mien Jan 23 '12 at 20:11
Were you following a recipe that gave directions about how thick it should be before trying to shape/cut/further cook it? – Jefromi Jan 23 '12 at 20:14
@Jefromi How can I shape it? – Patrick Jan 23 '12 at 20:35
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As your question stands, the possible answers are essentially:

  • You used too much liquid or too little cornmeal.
  • You didn't cook it long enough.
  • You didn't cool it enough for it to firm up.

Polenta is the sort of food that you should make by trusting your senses over a recipe. You should be able to tell, with a little bit of experience, whether it's too thin and wet after cooking for it to set once it cools. If it is, you can cook it a bit longer on low heat to get more water out of it, and the next time you can compensate with more cornmeal or less liquid.

Also, since I don't know what recipe you used, do note that there are also recipes out there for soft polenta (usually described as such), which is intended to be served soft, not cut.

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I see... I will give a try daily to get experienced. Another question is: how do I shape it? I mean.. something like this: – Patrick Jan 23 '12 at 20:49
@Patrick: That looks like it was shaped just by pouring/scraping into a broad flat pan, chilling, and then cutting into rectangles. – Jefromi Jan 23 '12 at 21:06
Mhm, does that mean that after cooking it, I should lie it on a pan and work its shape ? Do I miss the last step ? – Patrick Jan 24 '12 at 10:57
I meant exactly what I said: while it's mushy, transfer it into a flat pan, chill it (in the refrigerator) to get it firm, then cut it. There's no "working" unless you mean using a spatula to smooth out the top. – Jefromi Jan 24 '12 at 14:22
So, i do need to chillmit in a refrigerator to get a smooth shape ? For how long? – Patrick Jan 28 '12 at 16:42

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