Monday, March 14, 2011

BBA #10: Cornbread

BBA: CornbreadI'd run across this recipe before I bought a copy of BBA. As one raised on Southern cornbread made without any sweetening at all I was appalled at the amount of sugar in the recipe, tried leaving it out, and was not pleased with the results. After some mental debate I made the recipe as written this time.

Notes: I made a half recipe, and used my well-seasoned 8-wedge cornbread pan (inherited) and my 6" skillet (purchased myself years ago), both cast iron and never washed in a dishwasher (what *were* you thinking, Chris!?), only rarely washed at all in fact. The half-recipe was just about right for those together, though the 6" round bread could have been a little thicker. The cornbread took just about 30 minutes to bake--a 10" skillet with no dividers would have added a considerable amount of time.

I did use polenta, not my standard coarse cornmeal. I cut back a little on the corn kernels (also not generally a feature of Southern cornbread). Super-thick sliced bacon gave some extra bite.

Results: nice browning on the bread, but not really a good crust despite a long pre-heat for the pan. I took the wedges out of the pan immediately, that being the way I was taught (so the bread doesn't steam in the pan and soften the crust), and when that didn't result in very crusty cornbread I followed the recipe for the 6" round and left it in the pan for 10 minutes. Nope, also not very crisp. Neither was soggy, but they lacked the good crunch I expect in cornbread.

BBA: CornbreadTaste: not as bad as I'd thought. :) Certainly it's sweeter than I prefer, but perhaps because I ate it with a spicy sun-dried tomato soup (ButterYum's variation) that might have swamped my sweet tastebuds, it wasn't too bad. The bacon is a nice touch (what doesn't bacon improve?). I prefer a bread without the corn kernels, though it's not a strong negative--I could see deciding to use them for specific meals, just not as my standard.

In summary: I've made it, I've eaten some, and I'm moving on. I'll go back to Southern cornbread, maybe with bacon, next time.


  1. I'm in love with your wedged skillet! That surprises me that you didn't get a crunch ~ did you grease it with some bacon grease? That's what I did with my corn muffins and everyone thought it was finger lickin' good.

    It was great to read a post from someone who was raised on Southern cornbread ~ I recently posted a recipe on chicken and dumplings and my Southern friend told me that was not how it was done! :D

  2. Nancy,

    My wife assures me that she's far more angry at me about that cast iron skillet than I can imagine!

  3. Frieda: there was a crust with some crunch (I did use bacon grease), but not the really crisp crunch I like. On reflection, I'm thinking the corn kernals add enough moisture to the bread that the crust stays a little softer than otherwise.

  4. I too was liking your cornbread wedge pan. I bet it made every piece of bread so professional in appearance!

  5. That is a great pan for cornbread! I wonder if I would prefer southern cornbread to the recipes that I seem to come across. Most have a ton of sugar in them, which is not a plus to me. I like the thought of a crunch to the crust, seems like it would make it even better. What recipe do you use for a "real" southern cornbread? For some reason I didn't see your post for cornbread till today, it sure does look great!

  6. Joanne, I confess I don't have a standard recipe. I use a mix some of the time--Martha White Cotton Country ( by choice, made with an egg because I don't like my cornbread to be *too* crumbly. Other times I use the recipe on whatever bag of cornmeal I have around as long as it's more corn meal than flour (a lot more, preferably) and has the egg. Buttermilk is good, too.

    I really ought to ask the housekeeper who worked for my parents for years next time I go visit her, but I imagine I'll get an answer along the lines of "mix up your cornmeal and a little flour, add enough baking powder, then add buttermilk until it looks right." Which is about the way she gave me the chicken pie recipe I still can't make like she did...