(American cornmeal bread)
This recipe is for Southern cornbread, a drier, crunchier cornbread than its more cake-like Northern counterpart. It is best eaten same day it is baked. Stale leftovers can be used to make cornbread dressing. See the variations below to make the Northern version.
6 to 8 servings
- Cornmeal, preferably white -- 1 3/4 cup
- Baking powder -- 1 teaspoon
- Baking soda -- 1 teaspoon
- Sugar (optional) -- 1 tablespoon
- Salt -- 1 teaspoon
- Eggs, beaten -- 2
- Buttermilk -- 2 cups
- Butter or bacon fat -- 2 tablespoons
- Preheat oven to 450ºF and place a cast-iron skillet into the oven. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Beat the eggs and buttermilk together in another bowl.
- Stir the wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until the whole mass comes together. Do not overmix; a few dry spots and lumps are fine.
- Remove the hot cast-iron skillet from the oven, add the butter or bacon fat and distribute it evenly around the bottom of the skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet and spread it out evenly.
- Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Turn cornbread out onto serving platter, cut into wedges and serve.
- Northern Cornbread: Reduce oven heat to 425ºF. Follow the recipes above, but instead of using all cornmeal, use 1 cup of cornmeal and 3/4 cup of flour. Yellow cornmeal is preferred. Increase baking powder to 2 teaspoons.
- Additions for Flavor: Minced jalapeño, fresh corn kernels, shredded cheese, minced herbs, pork cracklings, bacon bits. Stir any addition into the wet ingredients.
- Buttermilk Substitution: If you don't have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar or 2 tablespoons of yogurt to 2 cups of milk. Let set 10 to 15 minutes before using in the recipe.
- Cornbread Sticks or Muffins: The batter can also be poured into a cast-iron cornbread stick mold. Reduce baking time to 10 to 12 minutes. Or you can pour the batter into greased muffin tins and bake for around 12 to 15 minutes.
- After the cornbread comes out of the oven, brush the top crust with butter, or with honey mixed with a little water .