I’ve heard tell you can have Polenta without baking it. I’ve never done so. There’s something about the texture that just doesn’t sit well with me. Just as grits don’t feel right in my mouth. It’s a personal thing. However; when additional flavors such as herbs and good quality cheeses are added to the mix, and then everything is fried or baked into a bread-like dish, it’s absolutely divine! But then again, I’m a big fan of cornbread and the main ingredient in Polenta is ground cornmeal . . .