This delicious, moist mealie bread (mealiebrood) comes together with a few pantry ingredients. It makes a great side dish for any braai and is equally good on its own.
Mealie bread is a common, easy quick bread found in South Africa and Eswatini (Swaziland). The first recipe dates back to 1840.
Mealie bread is a quick bread that is leavened with baking powder and made from mealies (corn or sweet corn), flour, eggs, sugar, and sometimes additional mealie meal (maize meal) or polenta.
In South Africa, maize or corn is typically called mealies. The word mealie comes from the Portuguese word milho. Corn was originally brought to Southern Africa by the Portuguese and quickly became a staple food across the region.
Mealie meal is a coarse flour made from maize, is usually white in colour, similar to cornmeal or Italian polenta.
This particular recipe has been in my handwritten recipe book with many annotations, variations and perfection over the years.
For more South African recipes click here!
What you need for this recipe
This recipe requires a large mixing bowl, whisk, spatula or spoon, as well as a regular-sized loaf tin.
- Tin of creamed corn or cream-style corn. This type of corn adds moisture to the dish. I would not substitute it out for regular cooked corn.
- Maize meal or polenta adds an additional maize flavour to this bread. I opted for polenta in this particular recipe because it's easier to find that maize meal in New Zealand, and a common grocery item across the world.
- Butter adds a much needed fat proponent to the recipe, but can be substitured with a baking margarine or vegan alternative.
- Milk adds moisture and can be substituted with lower fat versions or soy milk.
- Baking powder gives lift to this bread.
- White sugar gives a touch of sweetness to this bread, and can be substituted with brown or raw sugar or even with two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk.
- Eggs bind the bread together.
- Salt brings out the flavour of the flour and polenta.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Making the Mealie Bread/Mealiebrood
This recipe begins with preheating the oven to 180°C fans or 200°C conventional. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment or baking paper, making sure to leave an overhang for easy removal of the bread.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, polenta, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together the dry ingredients to evenly distribute the dry ingredients together.
Add the milk, creamed corn, eggs, and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Mix through until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 - 55 mins or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean from the centre of the loaf.
Pro Tips for this Recipe
Allow all your ingredients to come to room temperature. This allows the ingredients to combine and get to know each other a little easier. If it's a bit cold, zap the butter in the microwave in 10-second bursts. For cold milk do the same. Cold eggs can be placed in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
Baking ahead of time? This bread can be baked, allowed to cool completely and then wrapped in cling-film/plastic wrap before placing in the fridge for a day or two or freezer for use later.
Fan-forced or fan-assisted oven temperature must be decreased by 20°C/25F. Use an oven thermometer to determine the accuracy of your oven dial.
For a diary-free mealie bread - substitute the butter and milk with plant-based versions. Such as baking margarine, and soy milk.
For a spicy mealie bread - add half to 1 teaspoon of chilli powder or cayenne powder.
Mealie bread can be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days, or alternatively, you can freeze the mealie bread by wrapping it in cling film and tin or aluminium foil for up to 3 months.
Mealie Bread FAQ
Yes, you can substitute the sugar with condensed milk in this recipe.
Making mealie bread in tins or muffin tins is really easy. Firstly, if going for a rustic tin, make sure they are not coated with plastic on the inside. These plastics may not be heatproof.
Then divide the batter evenly between the tins or muffin tins, and reduce baking time to 20 minutes for a regular-sized muffin, and 30 minutes for a large or texas sized muffin tin.
I have not tested with recipes without eggs. If you do and use an egg replacement or flax leave me a note in the comments!
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- 225 grams plan or standard grade flour
- 150 grams polenta
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 eggs beaten
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- 125 mL milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 60 grams melted butter
- 1 tin of creamed corn
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fans or 200°C conventional. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment or baking paper, making sure to leave an overhang for easy removal of the bread.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, polenta, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together the dry ingredients to evenly distribute the dry ingredients together.225 grams plan or standard grade flour, 150 grams polenta, 2 tablespoon sugar, 4 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add the milk, creamed corn, eggs, and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Mix through until just combined.125 mL milk, 60 grams melted butter, 1 tin of creamed corn, 2 eggs beaten
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 - 55 mins or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out mostly clean from the centre of the loaf.
- Allow the bread to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before placing it on a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with butter and honey.
Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly.