Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Southern Cornbread

August 31st, 2008 · 4 Comments

Don’t talk to me about putting sugar in cornbread. If you do, it’s Yankee Cornbread. Good for, well — I can’t think of anything.

Southern cornbread requires a few things:

  • A No. 8 or No. 10 iron skillet. No. 8 if you want a fat loaf, No. 10 if you like it thin and crispy.
  • Grease. Sorry, but you low-fatters will just have to find another recipe.
  • A hot oven. Don’t try this on low heat – you won’t get the same results.

Southern cornbread

2 cups cornmeal, preferably white stone-ground, and self-rising if you can find it

OR: 1 1/2 cups cornmeal stirred with 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (Not needed with self-rising cornmeal)

1/2 teaspoon salt (Not needed with self-rising cornmeal)

3/4 cup milk or buttermilk (about)

1/4 cup oil, bacon drippings or shortening

1 egg

Make this in order: Preheat oven to 400. Put oil in skillet and put it in oven as it preheats. Make the batter: stir the dry ingredients together then add remaining ones; batter should be a little loose — slightly thicker than pancake batter. Add water to loosen as the weather indicates. (It will affect any batter.)

Remove skillet from oven and pour half of the hot oil (carefully!) into the batter and stir. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. (It should sizzle.)

Put skillet in oven and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and turn over onto a plate; cut into wedges and serve hot.

Makes 1 loaf.

Tags: Recipes: What's Cooking!

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jimmyb // Aug 31, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    If cornbread has sugar in it .. you can throw it in the garbage! jb

  • 2 ToddB // Sep 1, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I heard someone once say, “If your cornbread has a little brown on the top and a little brown on the bottom and is spongy… that’s not cornbread… that’s cake.”

    Cornbread is good with any meal, but especially something you need to sop up after you’ve finished eating it. It’s good crumbled up in sweet tea. And as Jan has said, it’s cooked ONLY in a cast iron skillet. No other way is acceptable.

  • 3 Lurch // Sep 2, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    I found a cornbread recipe in a barbecue cookbook recently that called for a LOT of sugar, at least a half-cup, maybe more.

    They claimed it was the best cornbread ever, but I could tast the sugar more than the corn, and I’m not a big sweets freak. No thanks.

    Question: Can you take any cornbread recipe like that, leave the sugar out, and expect it to come out OK?

  • 4 Jan Norris // Sep 4, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    I’d like to see the recipe before I tell you to leave it out completely.

    Cornbread is essentially a “quick” bread — the recipe has a lot of forgiveness in it. But any recipe with that much sugar will likely have significant texture changes if you take out the sugar. You could reduce it to 1/4 cup, likely, without too much change.

    Why not just make the above recipe? If you like corn flavor, you can add a can of corn kernels, or Mexican corn (has red peppers in it) to it. You may need to cut back on the liquid just a hair, but not much. Bake as directed otherwise.

    And with that Mexican cornbread, serve it with the famous Rotele dip: Pour a can of Rotele tomatoes (hot or mild) with juice over a small block of Velveeta cheese. Microwave it on 70 percent power for 4 minutes or until cheese melts. Stir; serve with the cornbread. People put chili in this, too…

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