Originally Posted by LizStreithorst
Yes, it's dried. I can grind it in the food processor. Will I have to nixalize it first for that? I'm not fond of grits and cornbread and muffins but if it's made from good quality feed corn I might change my mind about those things. Thanks for the ideas.
I'm late to this thread. I got a hair sideways on this topic about 10 years ago. I don't think any food processor can grind or mill dried corn. If you're going to make masa you will want to nixtamalize the corn first. Nixtamalize means to treat with an alkali, usually calcium hydroxide sold as lime or cal. That turns the corn kernels into pozole or hominy. Then I guess you could process it the food processor but that isn't the same as grinding it. Once it's been processed through a grain mill they call it masa.
I bought a Victoria grain mill for the purpose. You can't use the same kind of mill you would grind wheat with. I had a good Nutrimill grain mill but corn, except popcorn, has too much oil to use in those kind of mills.
I sympathize with your search for corn. I ended up buying it online in 10 lb bags. If you decide to buy feed corn be aware that it usually comes complete with eggs - bug eggs. You'll kill the eggs making your masa but if you're going to store the corn from a feed store you can kill the eggs by putting your corn in a freezer for a few days. If you go that route you're likely buying 50# bags so you need some space.
The Mexican markets I go to all have white, yellow and sometimes blue corn available though and that is definitely how I'd buy it if I were to go down the road again. It's sold in bulk like you might have seen pinto beans. Scoop out an ounce or 20 lbs. and take it to the cash register. It's much better corn for masa than the field corn or dent corn sold for feed, organic or not. Actually bought a couple pounds and some cal a couple years ago but it's really a lot of trouble and haven't brought myself quite to the point of hoeing that row again. There were some threads in this forum around that time.
When I posted in those I hadn't made masa yet and can't find anywhere I described those adventures. There were some more threads on the subject if you want to search for them.
There's lots more to be said on the topics of corn selection, nixtamalization and grinding but it is a pretty niche subject that few people are interested in so I won't say anymore unless you ask. If you do ask I'll happily share my experiences.
I've moved a couple times and had a stint of hard travelin' since then. Don't have the Victoria mill anymore; they're not too expensive though so might be tempted to take it up again. For now though, I'm ok with masa harina. It's not a good as fresh homemade masa but it's one heck of a lot easier.
P.S. Not many Mexican households make their own masa. Your best bet might be to ask your friend where his abuelita shops.