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Need some cornbread baking tips

I love cornbread, I just don't love MY cornbread! I can cook it in a hot cast iron skillet, I don't over mix (did that once and will never do it again) but my cornbread doesn't come out like the kind you get at a good bbq joint.

I'm thinking it's the ratio of flour to cornmeal. I tend to do 50/50 but maybe the ones I like have a different ratio? Can you make them with all cornmeal and no flour?

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  1. "my cornbread doesn't come out like the kind you get at a good bbq joint." OK, how does the cornbread in the bbq joint come out? Some like it with a cake like texture, some with a coarse and almost dry texture, some want it crisp outside and tender inside, some want it tender throughout.
    My cornbread uses:
    1 cup (4.5 ounces) AP flour
    1/2 cup coarse (typical) cornmeal
    1/2 cup Masa (corn flour)
    3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 egg (slightly beaten)
    1 cup whole milk
    1/4 cup vegetable oil (I sometimes use melted butter - sometimes browned butter)
    Combine wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients and create a well in center of the mass. Pour wet ingredients into the well, mix just until all ingredients are well combined (there will be small lumps in the batter) and pour into baking dish (I use a preheated cast iron skillet) and bake in 425 oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick piercing the center comes out clean.
    If I want to make it less cake like, I decrease the AP flour and increase the corn flour.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      I know it's hard to explain. But the ones I like have a softness that mine doesn't. Mine is much firmer, which is why I was thinking less flour.

    2. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

      This one is Altons and I usually don't follow many recipes but this was pretty good. I like the cream corn for moisture. To me you can't beat it. I did add some green chilis and some monterey jack cheese to mine
      ----------------------
      http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

      This is another one my friends makes which does have flour unlike Altons, also creamed corn which makes it very moist. Again my friend ass cheese and some kind of peppers for some heat.
      -----------------

      I also make one with just Jiffy Corn Bread mix, lame I know but when pressed for time and ingredients, it works just fine. Again, I use some creamed corn, some cheese and peppers and spices to jazz it up.

      I cook all in my cast iron and they all come out crisp but still very moist. Using different amounts of the creamed corn and cheese will give it totally different textures.

      11 Replies
      1. re: kchurchill5

        No matter what recipe I am using, I always use buttermilk. And if I don't have any, I make it with sour milk. Add 1tbsp. vinegar to one cup of milk for the sour milk. I also usually use melted butter for the shortening.

        1. re: Miri1

          Altons has buttermilk. I have have made all three, the Jiffy and the traditional way buttermilk and not. I can't tell too much difference between all three, but I do admit Altons I enjoy the most. Crispy and moist but they are all pretty close.

        2. re: kchurchill5

          Love the Alton corn bread recipe! I cook it in a jelly roll pan and up the buttermilk. Deeeeelish.

          1. re: miss louella

            I have to add some things for a little extra flavor, but it is a good recipe.

          2. re: kchurchill5

            hey there kc. I am making blackeye peas today. I have about 3 qts of chard and beet top liqour/stock and some awesome chicken stock (which I'm making on the stove now) and thought that cornbread would be nice too.

            I usually use the Albers recipe on the box, it's more cake like and I love it, but tell me is Alton's like that or does the cream corn make it more moist??? please tell me about it.

            1. re: chef chicklet

              It is very moist. Probably not as much cake like. But to be honest, I never just made his recipe as it. The first time I followed his, but I also added green chilis and cheese which again is more moisture. So I wish I could answer that. I have always liked a moist corn bread. Sorry not a clear answer on that. Dinner sounds good.

              Let me know what you end up making.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                Oh that is so like you! I swear we cook just alike, we get creative and it turns out wonderfully and then someone will ask us for the recipe... ACK!

                That's okay, the main recipe for AB's recipe is all I need, I can add or not the other items, like the green chilis or creamed corn, cheese (what kind again?). Actually my dear, what you do well, t all sounds delicious and I'll probably copy you.
                I'm sure the recipe is posted on the fn, site I'll check. Meanwhile here is a photo of my usual cornbread, nothing fancy but good with beans....
                http://www.flickr.com/photos/7220939@...
                see its pretty cakey...

                Oh heck yeah, the beans are for tomorrow and I can't wait. I dropped a ham bone the size of my arm in the crockpot! The chard liquor (stock) is somthing I'll use again, I must remember this because I've made vegetable stocks before and this is just really really good.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                  Altons link is above. My cheese I use either a sharp cheddar or a jalapeno jack cheese. Altons I have changed many times, the main recipe I keep, but just adding my twists like you.

                  FYI, you wouldn't have to twist my hand to have that for dinner. Yummy!

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    Unfortunatley, I didn't have everything to make ab's recipe last night, made the usual which was very close except, I didn't have buttermilk, and I think it has a little more sugar... but next time!

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      Milk or non-dairy mylk with a tsp. of apple cider vinegar per cup can be substituted for buttermilk.

            2. re: kchurchill5

              I tried the Alton Brown recipe last night and really liked it. So fast. Added bonus: it was still tasty the next day. It was the first time I ever bought cream corn and I guess I'll be buying again (eventhough I can't stand it straight up). Thanks for posting.

            3. I usually use Jiffy, but I also really like the Trader Joe's mix, which takes much longer to cook for the same quantity -- go figure.

              7 Replies
              1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                See that's the thing, I like Jiffy a lot better than my own!

                1. re: Jpan99

                  Jiffy is fine for me and for quick corn bread when I don't have all the other ingredients. I always doctor mine up though peppers, corn, cheese, even onions.

                  http://www.jiffymix.com/recipes.php?p...
                  These are the recipes from the Jiffymix.com page for the corn bread

                  I admit I have made the hush puppies with a few changes, spices or grates onion, etc.

                  I have made the spoon bread which is quite corn

                  And the Mexican Pizza, but I used my own toppings vs the canned chili, I used chorizzo in a spicy tomato base with pepper, onions and a blend of Mexican cheese topped with sour cream and avacado.

                  If you use the Jalapeno corn bread recipe and add some grated onion and cumin, fresh scallions the green parts, fresh corn, 1 extra egg, and cilantro it males great pan fried corn cakes.

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    here's my favorite Mexican cornbread - I use While Lily Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix -

                    http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

                  2. re: Jpan99

                    Hi! If you like Jiffy (I do, too), I have a substitution for the ingredients so you can make your own Jiffy within the attached link for Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread...as a bonus, you get my favorite recipe for sweet corn cake:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/604730

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      Thx. I do like making cornbread from scratch but Jiffy is so easy and you can still your own stuff.

                      I forgot to mention this one. I make mini jiffy muffins. To the basic mix I add a little chili powder and grated onion then I get a nice junk a hot spicy jalapeno cheese. Put the muffin mix in the tins and then put a square of the jalapeno cheese in the center on the muffin and bake. They make great little treats and BBQ's. Bite into a gooey center. Just really good.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        Jiffy also makes tasty waffles that pair nicely with a bowl of chili.

                  3. re: somervilleoldtimer

                    the Marie Callender mix is good, too. Just add extra butter and a dollop of honey to the batter before baking.

                  4. One of my favorite tips is this one handed down from my great-grandmother - melt some shortening, oil, bacon fat or a combo of those in a cast iron skillet until hot. Sprinkle in cornmeal, turn heat down and let the cornmeal bubble and brown. Add cornmeal batter and bake in hot oven. The crust is unbelievable!!

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: bayoucook

                      That sounds really good, I have heard of making a crust in bacon fat, but never had a recipe or tried it. One of the guys who is an Ol' Fl boy we go fishing with used to make it that way or similar but never tried it.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        I've actually had people fight over the crust before! And the inside is tender and delicious. I make 4 or 5 different cornbreads, almost always from scratch (one exception "Cotton Pickin" cornbread pouches for when I'm rushed) - Don't like sweet cornbreads so I don't use Jiffy. For a 10-12" pone of cornbread, I use about a tablespoon of sugar, if that. But try the crusting method, Kim, and tell me what you think about it (have some sweet butter handy!).

                        1. re: bayoucook

                          Is that a north vs. south thing <<don't like sweet cornbreads>>? I'm a Yankee, what do I know? ;) Jiffy just tastes good to me. Must have a little to do with what you're accustomed to eating.

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            I don't know - my kinfolk always said they either wanted cake OR cornbread - so I never had it sweet. My husband's from New Orleans and he loves sweet cornbread. I think it has to do with what you're eating it with - I make a sweeter cheesy-jalapeno cornbread to go with chili or pinto bean stew or turnip-green black eyed pea soup. With southern cooked veggies and potlikker - only regular cornbread will do - tastes better in the juices I guess. Never thought of it as a north vs. south thing...

                            1. re: bayoucook

                              bayoucook: Got it--I don't make cornbread except to serve with chili. Your pairing idea makes sense.

                              silverhawk: NICE!

                            2. re: kattyeyes

                              It is a north south thing. I'm originally from NE and like Durgin Park's corn bread, though it's more of a hearty cake than a real corn bread. If you like sweet cornbread, this amusement park cornbread is really good, more like a corn cake than corn bread.

                              http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Amusemen...

                            3. re: bayoucook

                              i like the crispy edge so much that i now bake cornbread madelines almost exclusively. this requires reducing the baking powder and increasing the oven temp.

                              1. re: silverhawk

                                I'll have to try that. I love my cornbread the best when I make a small batch in a cast-iron pan; it's not that thick and the crust is really THERE. I also like to make hoe-cakes (don't know the real name for them) - make any cornbread batter like pancakes in a cast-iron skillet.

                          2. re: bayoucook

                            Hey bayou. Did your cornbread, but I used some shortening and butter combo. No bacon fat. Did the cornmeal and then the batter. I used Jiffy batter but cornmeal I had just enough for a crust, I did add green chilis, a small can some grated onion, 1 small one and some cheese, monterey pepper jack. It was awesome corn bread and I loved the crust. Crispy but not too much. I have to admit very good, thank you. I enjoyed that. Had my chicken which I had marinaded all day and then grilled with mesquite and a chipolte glaze (leftovers from the other night) and a black bean and corn salad with fresh mango. A nice Mexican type dinner. Good summer time food.

                            Thx again for the cornbread tip, a couple other recipes here I want to try too..

                            1. re: kchurchill5

                              Glad you liked it. Your dinner sounded delicious. There're things I want to try on here, too. Wish I'd found Chow years ago I enjoy it so much.

                            2. re: bayoucook

                              what's in that cornmeal batter, bayou cook?

                              1. re: bakersdelight

                                I make 6 or 7 different cornbreads depending on what it goes with and my mood. My everyday/quick batter is White Lily Buttermilk Cormeal Mix, more (thick) buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter (some water or milk to thin it if I have "real" buttermilk). Just lately my local store has had buttermilk like I grew up on, really thick and rich, sooo good. Not low fat.

                            3. The original comment has been removed