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How to nixtamalize corn?
Old 10-05-2014, 07:57 PM   #1
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How to nixtamalize corn?

I know some of you live in Mexico and I presume some of you are Mexican, so maybe a forum participant can offer some practical advice. I want to learn to nixtamalize corn (treat it with lime to end up with posole and masa). Apparently this was once widespread in households through Mexico and points south. While it isn't hard to learn what this is and the basic process (add corn and lime to water, boil for a while, let it soak and then rinse well while working the corn with your hands), proportions are hard to come by on the interwebs. The abuelitas don't seem to be blogging about this, unfortunately. Has anyone done this? The closest I came to clear proportions in some google searching was this: Nixtamalization

Two tablespoons of lime per half pound of corn strikes me as a lot, but WDIK? A 50 pound sack of blue corn and a pound of lime are on their way to me so I will begin experimenting soon regardless, but if anyone has advice to offer I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 10-05-2014, 11:17 PM   #2
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I read up on this recently after having a bowl of pozole at our local Mexican place (soup with Hominy). Hmmmm. But after a bit of searching I couldn't find a process with amounts in it either, just the general soak in alkaline solution and dry.

I can't imagine I'd make it myself, I think most cooks just buy the finished product, but now I'm curious.

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Old 10-05-2014, 11:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I can't imagine I'd make it myself, I think most cooks just buy the finished product, but now I'm curious.

-ERD50
I have bought the finished product in one form or another for years. But since I am having fun learning to do things that lots of people take for granted (grinding my own flour, making my own butter, etc.), posole/masa seems like the logical next thing to fool with. Some people believe that the discovery of nixtamalization was the thing that allowed the corn-based meso-American civilizations to flourish.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:46 AM   #4
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This site looks promising:
http://www.cookingissues.com/2011/03...xtamalization/

This article mentions cooking times for tamale dough, tortillas, or hominy.
Nixtamal - Masa Dough and Hominy
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:40 AM   #5
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How to Make Homemade Hominy from Dry Corn

might be hlepful.
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:08 AM   #6
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Head on over to your friendly neighborhood Mexican grocery store and find the oldest woman in the store and see if they remember how their grandmother made it.
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:09 AM   #7
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That looks extremely promising. Thanks.

Looks like I have a winter project. It is so dry here in the winter that if I perfect this I will make extra and dry it, since it will dry quickly if spread out on a screen.
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:27 AM   #8
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When trying to get down to the details in Mexican recipes, I've found I have to read the ones in Spanish.

A bunch here - Google translate can take care of the non-video pages.
https://www.google.com/search?client...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

This one is calling for 2 pounds of pozole corn and two teaspoons (cucharaditas) of lime (cal)
La Cocina Mexicana: Nixtamal Para Pozole.

But given that posole crazy New Mexico grows lots of corn for nixtamal, you'd expect plenty of info in English on this particular subject.
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:01 AM   #9
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When trying to get down to the details in Mexican recipes, I've found I have to read the ones in Spanish.

A bunch here - Google translate can take care of the non-video pages.
https://www.google.com/search?client...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

This one is calling for 2 pounds of pozole corn and two teaspoons (cucharaditas) of lime (cal)
La Cocina Mexicana: Nixtamal Para Pozole.

But given that posole crazy New Mexico grows lots of corn for nixtamal, you'd expect plenty of info in English on this particular subject.
Hmmm, in your latter link the ingredients say 2 tsp but the instructions refer to 2 tablespoons. Is google translating this correctly?
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:13 AM   #10
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The second link says "2 teaspoons" in the ingredients list and "2 tablespoons" in the instructions.

The 4 video links all give different proportions of corn and lime. 1/2 kg + 2 tablespoons, 1 kg + 2 tablespoons, 1 kg + 3 tablespoons, 1 kg + 1 tablespoon. Maybe start with 2 pounds of corn and 2 tablespoons of lime?
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:34 AM   #11
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Hmmm, in your latter link the ingredients say 2 tsp but the instructions refer to 2 tablespoons. Is google translating this correctly?
Oops - there is a discrepancy in Spanish, so the error is in the original.

The ingredients lists says 2 cucharaditas (2 teaspoons)
yet the instructions say 2 cucharadas which is 2 tablespoons.

"ita" is the diminutive - small. I can see how such an error is easy to make in Spanish.

So the translation is correct on that point.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:00 PM   #12
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Based on all the recipes I see, seems like a couple pounds of corn and a couple tablespoons of lime would be a god starting point.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:10 PM   #13
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Based on all the recipes I see, seems like a couple pounds of corn and a couple tablespoons of lime would be a good starting point.
I agree.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
I have bought the finished product in one form or another for years. But since I am having fun learning to do things that lots of people take for granted (grinding my own flour, making my own butter, etc.), posole/masa seems like the logical next thing to fool with. Some people believe that the discovery of nixtamalization was the thing that allowed the corn-based meso-American civilizations to flourish.
The nixtamalization changes the chemical composition such that more essential proteins are available for digestion, adds calcium, and releases niacin, thus significantly increasing the nutrition. In the Deep South where they used lye to treat their hominy, people developed nutrition disorders (pellagra) from eating a diet high in corn/grits. No such problem in Mexico.
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Old 10-06-2014, 08:00 PM   #15
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Corn tortillas are good, I always go for corn instead of flour when dining out.
At home: (okay I may get lazy and not shape the bacon)
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:03 AM   #16
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Given the variation in recipes, that it is a very old process, and that corn varieties vary in their chemistry, I would strongly suspect the exact ratio isn't critical. Start either on the low end or in the middle and adjust to suit.
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Old 10-10-2014, 06:14 PM   #17
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Well, I tried it out today. I soaked 2 pounds of dried blue corn for about 18 hours. I then heated up about a gallon of water, added 2 tablespoons of "Mrs. Wages' Pickling Lime" and brought it to a boil. Added the drained, soaked corn and simmered for 2 hours. I then drained it, rinsed thoroughly, and did 2 rounds of putting the nixtamal in a pot of lukewarm water for 10 minutes, swishing around with my hand from time to time and draining it to make sure I removed the lime. The result sure tastes and looks like the frozen posole I buy in the store. I don't own a metate, so I will probably freeze half for the next batch of green chile posole and try to dry the other half so I can grind it for blue masa in my flour mill. I got about 4 pounds of wet product out of this, equivalent to two frozen packages I typically buy frozen. Here is what the finished product looks like:
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:07 PM   #18
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Looks good.
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:17 PM   #19
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I think next up will be malting corn to see what it is like in a batch of homebrew. Doing a bit of googling it appears that illegally distilling whiskey at home is far more popular than I ever would have guessed. They do seem to know how to malt corn, though...
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