I frequently run across recipes in books that require "fine-ground cornmeal", which isn't a classification that exists in the USA (particularly baffling when the cookbook was published in the USA). This leaves me unsure of what to substitute; whether I should be using medium-grind cornmeal, or corn flour. As such, below is a listing of types of cornmeal in the US, as labeled by flour mills*.
- Coarse Ground Cornmeal: usually yellow, otherwise known as Polenta, 1mm large grains used mainly for boiling.
- Medium Ground Cornmeal: usually yellow, a rough grind larger than wheat flour and about the same size as pasta semolina. Used for cornbread.
- Corn Flour: cornmeal, usually yellow, ground to the same consistency as wheat flour.
- Corn Starch: superfine ground husked corn flour, usually white.
So, when a recipe asks me for "fine ground cornmeal", what is it asking for, if no other information is supplied? A US recipe? A British recipe? An Australian Recipe?
I am looking for a generic answer here for each nationality (or region), because I have seen this in multiple recipes, not an answer for a specific recipe.
(* there's also grits and various grades of masa, which aren't relevant for this question)