What is the difference between cornmeal and masa harina? It is corn flour, right? Technically, they’re both made from corn, but the way they’re processed is quite different. Cornmeal is ground dried corn and is often fairly coarse in consistency. The corn in masa harina is soaked in food-grade calcium hydroxide via a process called nixtamalization to make hominy, which is easier to grind and cook with.
Masa harina is available in types of yellow or white, each with its own flavor profile. Yellow has a more pronounced corn flavor. White is a more subtle corn flavor. It is made into masa dough for tortillas and tamales by adding liquid. One can also fold a small amount of masa harina into yeast-risen loaves of bread or rolls for a dose of nutty, buttery richness.