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The smell hits you as soon as you walk through the doors of the movie theater—rich, buttery, salty popcorn. It’s almost impossible to pass up. No matter if you love cheesy romcoms or heart-pounding horrors, chances are that you’re munching through fistfulls of the light, fluffy stuff. But for acclaimed chef and author Edward Lee, the best parts of popcorn are not the fluffed up bits, but the leftover granules in the bottom of the bag.
Lee tried replacing cornmeal with ground up popcorn as a base to make a loaf of bread. The result—featured in his upcoming cookbook Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine—is a loaf that feels like cornbread, but waaaaaaay lighter and fluffier on the inside. Lee serves this hy-bread (hehe) in his Washington D.C. restaurant, Succotash.
To get the right texture, run popcorn through a blender or food processor until it is the consistency of cornmeal. It’s important not to overwork the crumbly dough—the mixture should just come together in your hands. While Lee recommends using organic popping corn, the distinct salty butter is another story:
“To make the movie theater memory more pronounced, I actually brush the tops of the bread with movie theater butter—that fake stuff that every movie theater uses on popcorn," he says. "It has that unmistakable artificial butter smell that actually makes me nostalgic.”
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 3/4 tablespoon dry yeast
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 2 cups popped popcorn
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons artificial movie theater butter
Have a favorite popcorn recipe? Tell us in the comments!