Warm Cornbread -YUM!
Our 16th recipe from Baking with Dorie is Cornbread found on page 339.
There are many cornbread recipes out there, this is a nice recipe but definitely not the best; see my tips below to make an outstanding cornbread.
A word on cornmeal
White or Yellow Cornmeal
- totally depends on what flavour profile you are going for. Cornbread that's true to its down-home Southern roots, only white cornmeal will do. If you want a sweeter, cake-like cornbread, opt for yellow, rich in beta carotene, with more of a corn-flavor punch.
The difference in cornmeal grinds may not seem like a very big deal, but it impacts the flavor of your cornbread.
- coarsely-, medium-, and fine-ground cornmeal each differ in taste, and the finest grind of cornmeal is the least sweet.
- stone-ground cornmeal, lends the most "corn" flavor.
- Stone-ground cornmeal (the corn is literally ground between two slowly moving stones) retains some of the hull and germ, so it's coarser in texture and lends a more interesting flavor to baked goods
Soaking your Cornmeal in Buttermilk
The trick to this perfect cornbread is letting the cornmeal, flour, and buttermilk sit overnight; this allows the corn flour to fully hydrate, while the acid from the buttermilk tenderizes the cornmeal, helping to create a tender, almost cakey bread that still retains that slightly gritty texture you expect.
Here’s a picture of fermented cornmeal. All of the buttermilk has been absorbed and you can see air pockets from the fermentation.
- soaking adds a delicious sourdough-like flavor to the cornbread.
- The fully hydrated cornmeal has a smoother texture.
- Corn is hard to digest. Pre-fermenting for a least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours improves the digestibility of the corn
- soaked cornbread can be made without any additional flour so it is a naturally gluten-free recipe
Cast Iron Skillet & Bacon Fat
- cornbread that has a crunchy, buttery crust, comes from baking it in a hot cast iron skillet
- The heavy, heat-retaining material will give you the darkest color (which equals the most flavor)
- bacon fat helps to form a crispy bottom crust
- bacon drippings make certain the cornbread doesn't stick to your cast iron skillet
- any time you add bacon's delectable flavor to a dish, it greatly increases the umami level
I would rate this recipe 3 out of 5. My cornbread was dry and lacked flavour. I do prefer a sweeter cornbread so I would add maple syrup or honey to the recipe. I also like a richer and more cakey cornbread so I would add 2 more tablespoons of butter, and DEFINITELY would add bacon fat to cook cornbread.
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