10 September 2010

Cornbread - Or Is it Corn Bread?




Some people say cornbread; others insist on corn bread (two words). Who knows, but I'm going with cornbread. That's just one of the controversies surrounding cornbread. Then there's sugar or no sugar? Milk or buttermilk? Flour or no flour? Yellow or white cornmeal? I even add to the persnicketiness of it all by specifying the grind of the cornmeal. I use Bob's Red Mill stone ground yellow medium grind. You might prefer the fine grind, but I like the crunch the medium grind gives the cornbread.

We could never agree on cornbread in my family when I was growing up. My mother, having been raised in the English manner, favored what some call "Northern" cornbread--higher, fluffier, sweeter. My father, having been raised in the Southern manner, favored "Southern" cornbread--flatter, no fluff, no sugar. Of course, many Southerners would say that's okay, as far as it goes, but that it's not really Southern unless there's some bacon grease involved.

When I'm missing my father (I always called him "Daddy," in the Southern manner), I'm inclined to cook up something he liked. Today, that's beans and cornbread. Now, mind, he was a real meat and potatoes (and a couple of vegetables) man; but there were days when he liked nothing more than a bowl of beans and a pan of cornbread. I'll tell you about the beans another day, but here's the cornbread. Two ways. Baked in an 8-inch square Pyrex baking dish AND in my new Belgian waffle maker!

Sometimes Daddy would eat leftover cornbread crumbled in a bowl and topped with milk. And milk? He would call milk "sweet milk" when the Southern was coming out in him. Apparently that was to differentiate between milk and buttermilk or even clabbered milk (I don't have a clue about that one).

So, tell me, where do YOU stand on all these different cornbread/corn bread issues?

Cornbread

(Makes eight 2x4-inch servings or eight 4.5-inch waffle squares)

1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
1 packed cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
3 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup organic canola oil

(That's one or two eggs more than you usually see in a cornbread recipe. Goes back to my vegetarian days when I was trying to squeeze in more protein anywhere I could. You could probably just use 2 eggs and increase the milk and buttermilk to 3/4 cup each.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil (or, if you want to get really Southern, bacon grease) an 8x8x2-inch pan (I use a Pyrex baking dish). In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and beat just until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 425 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. If you like your cornbread flatter, just use a slightly larger pan and bake for a shorter time.

One recipe makes two large square waffles in my Cuisinart WAF-100 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker, 2 cups of batter per waffle. Then I cut each 4.5-inch square in half diagonally and have 16 triangles.

Serve hot with plenty of unsalted butter.


28 comments:

40daystochange said...

Uh - oh. I think we part ways here Jean. Cornbread isn't cornbread in my mind unless it's sweet. I must be holding on to my Yankee tastes. ;)

If you're going with the salty/savory flavor, would adding jalapenos or cheese be acceptable? Or would that just be crazy talk?

Jean said...

Ami, you mean Virginia hasn't rubbed off on you yet? My husband is from Michigan and he definitely prefers Northern cornbread. When confronted with sweet cornbread, I say "If I had wanted cake, I would've ordered cake."

And, yes, those additions are acceptable. I love adding a little spice and heat (and cheese) to it occasionally, though to my father that would have been crazy talk!

A Thought For Food said...

Haha! I'd go with cornbread (how you have it here). I have to admit, I've never made cornbread before... but I have grand plans to try it out this fall.

Thank you for your comment on my guest post on Chef Dennis' site. I couldn't agree more... hummus is always delicious (especially when it's homemade) but I also think it's fun to try something different. If you are looking for more recipes, feel free to stop by my site www.athoughtforfood.net

Best,
Brian

Jean said...

Thanks for stopping by Brian. Yes, I'll be stopping by your blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Tell me about the waffle cornbread. Are you supposed to eat them like waffles?

Linda

Jean said...

Linda, I got the idea for baking the cornbread batter in the waffle iron because of the fact that some of the people I know who like the Southern cornbread really like it thin and crusty. The Belgian waffle iron makes waffles 1-inch thick, and there's lots of crust, so ...

BUT I tried some of the leftovers in the toaster the next morning as waffles with real maple syrup, and it was a delicious breakfast. So either way, as cornbread or as breakfast waffles, it's good stuff.

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

I would eat cornbread this way, sounds great. I'm a sweet kinda girl though, and I would need some honey butter on it! Soon with soup weather approaching fast, I will be needing this recipe.
-Gina-

Jean said...

Thanks, Gina. I love "soup weather." No matter what the weather's doing tomorrow, I'm making a big pot of soup and some cornbread. I think if I was in the mood for sweet, a little honey butter would be the way to go.

Carolyn said...

Love the idea of the cornbread in the wafflemaker! I like the denser, flatter, less sweet cornbread, so I suppose that would be southern. I've had cornbread too many times that is dry and uninteresting, so it's hard to achieve really good cornbread. Yours looks like it might be it!

Jean said...

Thanks, Carolyn. I hope it will work for you. Another commenter said she likes honey butter on her cornbread, and I can just imagine the butter pooling in all the impressions in the waffle. Mmmm.

Angie's Recipes said...

I adore the corn bread! Yours looks so good.

Jean said...

Thank you, Angie. I hope you'll try it both ways. Are Belgian waffles popular in Germany?

Jenn said...

Mmmm... I really love that cornbread is so different everywhere. Unlike, say, sourdough bread, which yes, has differences throughout the world but with cornbread it's just so apparent. You can almost taste the cultural heritage in each, which is half the fun of dinner.

Jean said...

Yes, Jenn, I agree!

Claudia said...

Love cornbread. And adore corn bread. And cannot make it. Even the birds won't eat my cornbread - so kudos to your delicious corn bread/cornbread.

Jean said...

Thank you! You are so funny, Claudia!

Jenn said...

How ever you spell it...it looks delicious! Cornbread is a favorite of mine... warm with a little butter and honey... YUM!!!

Jean said...

Thanks, Jenn. When the weather starts turning cold, think I'll make a batch of it to go with a big pot of chili.

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Cornbread and beans (and a good hot sauce!) sound like the perfect dinner. I love the simplicity of it! And I love adding jalapenos to cornbread.

Jean said...

Yes, jalapenos go with anything corn, don't they? I like to balance out that green with some diced red bell pepper, too.

Sanjeeta kk said...

Lovely treat for a corn lover! Nice to haev come across your site, hope to come for more soon.
Best wishes.

Jean said...

Sanjeeta, thank you. I hope you will come back soon and often.

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

I don't the exact word in English; here is called "pan de maiz" but I know that bread is scrumptious :) with butter!

All the best,

Gera

Jean said...

Thanks, Gera. Everything is better with butter, I always say!

Oregon Kimm said...

OMGosh, but you described my grandparents to a "T". My grandmother is from Montana and my grandfather was from Texas. He loved his cornbread in a glass of milk. She would make both sweet and not so sweet cornbread to make everyone happy. Always in a big round pan too! My preference...probably the sweet kind. And sometimes I even stick it in a cold glass of milk. lol

Jean said...

Thanks, Kim, glad you liked the post! My husband prefers the sweet, so that's what I usually make. Unlike your grandmother, I'm too lazy to make both kinds on one occasion!

Whydiss said...

When I was travelling around the USA, I loved cornbread until I reached the south and it was very gritty and plain. Thanks for clearing up why there are different types of cornbread. When I was staying just outside of New Orleans my host said I just needed to add more butter to make it tasty.

Jean said...

Your host in New Orleans was right! Everything is better with butter--the more butter the better!

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