Preparation / Directions:
In a medium cast-iron saucepan or other heavy pot, bring all ingredients except cornmeal to simmer over medium heat. Very slowly, begin to sift cornmeal into the pan through the fingers of one hand, stirring constantly with wooden spoon or whisk. Gradually sift remaining meal into the pan, continue to stir and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to stir until the polenta is smooth and thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan as it is stirred, about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf, pour polenta into a serving bowl or onto a wooden board, and allow it to rest 10 minutes. To serve from the bowl, dip a large spoon into water and scoop polenta onto individual dishes, dipping the spoon into the water between scoops. To serve from the board, cut polenta into segments with a thin, taut string or knife and transfer to plates with a spatula or cake knife.