HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Help! I Need A Traditional Southern Cornbread Recipe for My Cast Iron Skillet

I was going to wait until New Year's Day to have a full Hoppin' John blowout / Twilight Zone marathon, but now that I have black eyed peas and collards on the brain, I don't think I can wait that long! I need a cornbread recipe that my North Carolina friends would approve of--not too sweet, no whole corn kernels--and that I can bake in my 10" cast iron. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Great timing. I just posted about this on my blog. I am just copying it from there:

    This is just a recipe for cornbread. Boring right? However, every time I need to make cornbread I have to track down THIS recipe. This usually involves calling my sister and getting her to give it to me again. I promised her the last time, that I would make a more permanent note of it. So here it is.

    The ingredients are all very normal and standard. Somehow though, these exact proportions create a way better cornbread then all the other recipes. The small amount of sugar in the recipe is more for seasoning like salt, not for sweetness.

    Cornbread

    1 cup corn meal

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1 tablespoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon salt

    2 teaspoons sugar

    1/4 cup vegetable oil

    1 1/8 cup buttermilk

    1 egg

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix together corn meal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in a large measuring cup. Pour the oil in a cast iron baking pan, place it in the hot oven.

    Add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Combine gently. Pour half of the hot oil from the pan into the batter. Stir in well. Pour the batter into the baking pan and place in the oven.

    Bake about 15 minutes or until the top and edges are browning in spots. Loosen from the pan, and turn out onto a rack to cool.

     
    5 Replies
    1. re: Becca Porter

      I'm sure this is a fine cornbread, but the OP was asking for a traditional southern cornbread, and that's not what this is.

      First off, a 1:1 cornmeal-flour ratio is all wrong. One and a half cups corn meal to one-half cup flour would be closer to the mark, though I've seen southern cornbreads that use even less flour, and some that use no flour at all. Also, vegetable oil brings no flavor: melted butter or bacon fat would be a more traditional fat.

      The main key to a quality southern cornbread is to use as coarse a cornmeal as you can find: avoid Quaker corn meal, especially. It's close to the consistency of cake flour, and your cornbread will have no body. Goya coarse-ground is my favorite, but if you can't find it, anything stoneground will do.

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        Your probably right. After all, it looks like you are from Boston and I am just from Louisiana...

        I am pretty sure she wanted a good southern cornbread, not just the most authentic. Down here, as long as it is not sweet, and is baked in a cast iron skillet it is considered southern.

        and as often as I make cornbread, I can't use bacon fat every time. Though it is great every now and then. I am actually making cracklin cornbread tonight.

        1. re: Becca Porter

          I'm from Texas, punkin, and my mama taught me how to make skillet cornbread when I was about six years old. My credentials are in order.

          She asked for a traditional southern cornbread recipe. Few if any traditional southern cornbread recipes use a 1:1 ratio, and they sure as heck don't use vegetable oil.

          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            Ozark hillbilly here, and Barmy's right. No veg. oil & NO sugar. Yankee's put sugar in cornbread. Southerners use cornbread as cheap bread, not a sweet. You wouldn't ladle a serving of beans & ham hock over a sweet, would you? (seen this served in a restaurant, and the first - and only - bite of sweetened beans and cornbread was horribly unforgettable ) Back in the day, cornmeal was cheaper than flour, and 'lightbread' was for sundays only, in the depressed south. Sugar? Hardly anyone could afford it for everyday use.

            1. re: weewah

              Funny that Southerns wouldn't think of putting sugar in the cornbread (at least not true Southerners, see also 'no true scottsman'), but are quite happy to load their ice tea with sugar.

    2. I've heard good things about the Skillet Cornbread on Southern Plate:

      http://www.southernplate.com/2008/10/...

      1. Paraphrased Cook's Illustrated recipe:

        SOUTHERN-STYLE CORNBREAD

        Makes one 8-inch skillet of bread. Published in Cook's Illustrated May 1, 1998.

        INGREDIENTS

        4 teaspoons bacon drippings or 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

        1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone ground (divided use 1/3 cup & 2/3 cup)

        2 teaspoons granulated sugar
        1/2 teaspoon table salt
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        1/4 teaspoon baking soda

        1/3 cup water (rapidly boiling)
        3/4 cup buttermilk
        1 large egg , beaten lightly

        INSTRUCTIONS

        Place an oven rack on lower middle shelf of oven. Now place an 8-inch cast-iron skillet, greased with 4 tsp bacon fat or 1 tsp vegetable oil and 1 Tbs melted butter on that rack.

        Start oven pre-heating to 450-F.

        In a medium bowl, measure out 1/3 cup of the cornmeal.

        In another smaller bowl mix the remaining 2/3 cup cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking power and baking soda and set aside until needed.

        Pour 1/3 cup of boiling water into the 1/3 cup of cornmeal and stir to form a stiff batter.
        Slowly whisk in buttermilk until batter is smooth, then whisk in the beaten egg.

        When the oven has reached 450-F and skillet is hot, stir the small bowl of dry ingredients
        into the larger bowl of moistened cornmeal batter.

        Remove hot skillet from oven. Pour heated bacon fat or butter from hot skillet
        into the bowl of batter and stir until mixed.

        Now quickly pour the bowl of batter into the hot skillet. Return skillet with batter to hot oven.

        Bake until cornbread is golden brown, about 20-minutes.

        Remove from oven and turn out cornbread onto wire rack. Cool 5 minutes then serve.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Antilope

          my mom was from the south,, and so was my mom n law (alabama girl) and southern cornbread had NO SUGAR... it's not sweet bread.. .it's cornbread and beans... that was a staple for them when they were growing up.

          1. re: teennamarie

            Southerners must save up all the sugar they don't use in the cornbread and use that sugar to ruin perfectly good tea.

            1. re: Antilope

              It's Southern thing Antilope you wouldn't understand.. Sugar and flour in cornbread is just a sweet cake YOU drink with your crappy Tea...!!!

              1. re: ironuser

                I like sugar in cornbread. I put sugar in cornbread, I will continue to put sugar in cornbread. I'm even going to put sugar (and flour) in southern cornbread. Irrational people can wave their arms, foam at the mouth, throw dirt in the air, stomp, sulk, rant and rave. So what, it tastes good and I will continue to do it. If you visit my house, that's what you will be served. Get use to it.

        2. My mother actually uses the Martha White corn meal mix, but this is basically the same thing. Also, their website (www.marthawhite.com) has a product locator.

          1 1/2 cup cornmeal (I've always used white
          )1/2 cup all-purpose flour
          1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
          1 teaspoon baking soda
          1 teaspoon salt
          1 egg, beaten
          1 1/3 cups buttermilk
          4 tablespoons butter (I always use salted; I think cornbread should taste like salt and butter)

          Preheat the oven to 450. Combine the dry ingredients, then whisk in the wet (except the butter) until a thick batter forms. Put the butter in your cast iron skillet and put that in the oven until the butter is melted and the skillet is good and hot. Pour the batter over the melted butter and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

          Now, this is how my mother and grandmother always did it:

          Let cool for a few minutes and then invert the cornbread onto a plate. Slice the top (formerly the bottom) off - about a half inch thickness. Dot the exposed top with pats of butter, then put the cornbread top back on. Slice. Eat. Enjoy.

          6 Replies
          1. re: CarolinaGirl06

            It may be heretical among the southern Hounds to make cornbread from a pouch, but by Gawd, I swear by Martha White. That stuff is off-the-charts great every time and as easy as can be. I see no real need to make cornbread from scratch.

            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              Actually, it's not considered heresy as long as it's a Martha White or Pioneer mix. The Martha White brand is probably better known throughout the South because of its long-term sponsorship of the Grand Ole Opry since 1948. If you ever hear the Martha White jingle performed by Flatt and Scruggs, you'll know it's no NY City brand - the jingle is a bluegrass standard - but I've read ALL of these recipes and the truth is, I believe Martha White's WHITE cornbread mix is the best. I love to throw parties and have cookouts and tailgaters nd BBQs... Too many of my born and bred Southern friends have just gone nuts over the Martha White cornbread demanding the recipe because even though they were raised on it, it's "the best cornbread I ever had!" The most important thing, in my opinion, is using plenty of grease in the cast iron skillet and getting it REAL hot, but not smoking when you pour the batter in. I like enough that it comes over the top of the batter. The end result is a texture to die for - crisp on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. Two things stuck out as I read all of them - one, white cornmeal is used more for cornbread in the South. I honestly don't think yellow and white taste the same and the yellow is so coarse and grainy. I reserve yellow cornmeal and use it for things like dressing and the other thing was - NO self-respecting Southerner puts SUGAR in their cornbread! It's like a Texan putting BEANS in a pot of chili! You just don't do it! You can put things like corn or vegetables in it, pour honey or syrup over it, but not IN it.

              1. re: Adele In Texas

                Sorry Adele, but based on my experience, I have to respectfully disagree with some of what you've said. I've posted my family's recipe down a few posts. We are all from Louisiana and my daughters are now the 7th generation using that recipe. There is a small amount of sugar and flour and we are all indeed self-respecting southerners. The cornbread is always made of coarse ground yellow cornmeal. In all my 50+ years I have never been served cornbread made with white cornmeal in the south.

                You are absolutely correct that getting the skillet hot first is key to getting the right texture with the yummy crust.

                1. re: decolady

                  I agree with decolady. I am also from Louisiana and my recipe above uses a small bit (2 teaspoons) of sugar and flour in our cornbread. I have never seen white cornmeal used either.

                  The best part of cornbread is the crunch of the yellow cornmeal...

                  1. re: Becca Porter

                    Thirded, from down the bayou in Louisiana, and we make coosh-coosh with the leftovers: cornbread with whole milk poured over it and a drizzle of Steen's black strap molasses.

                2. re: Adele In Texas

                  Looking at all these posts, on the topic of sugar in particular, it seems obvious that there is not just one type of Southerner. It does appear that the Lousiana folks are unified in using a modest amount of sugar.

                  The analogy to Texas chili and the no-beans rule seems apt.

                  Not a Southerner myself, I am at liberty to salivate in nonpartisan fashion at all of these terrific recipe ideas. I'm making some cornbread SOON!

            2. Use a recipe that calls for making a mush with boiling water. Use stone ground meal, not the really fine stuff. Don't use much if any sugar, and always heat the fat in the pan in a hot oven before pouring in the batter. The CI recipe Antilope posted is a good one. You can make it even leaner without the baking powder and sugar, but the CI recipe covers many people's tastes without veering off track.

              Bill Neal has a recipe for company corn bread made without a mush, if you want something a little richer and to my taste, not so traditional. Many North Carolinians would know his name, if you care to give him credit:

              1 1/2 c. cornmeal
              1/2 c. all purpose flour
              2 tsp. baking powder
              1 tsp. soda
              1 tsp. salt
              1 Tbsp. sugar
              2 large eggs
              1 1/2 c. buttermilk
              3 Tbsp. butter

              This will be thinner in a ten inch skillet, and will cook more quickly than in a 9 inch, but both will work. Place skillet on medium low heat or in oven to heat. Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with buttermilk. Melt the butter in the preheated skillet and tilt to coat, then pour the excess into the liquids and whisk again. (This will work better if your liquids are at room temperature, but if they're cold and the butter hardens, don't fret.) Pour the liquids into the dry and mix quickly before pouring into the hot pan. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 23-30 minutes, depending on the size of your skillet.

              2 Replies
              1. re: amyzan

                I'm going to try the martha white recipe w/ a little adaption: I'm going to add some actual corn and about a tablespoon honey. I'm as southern as they come and love ALL forms of cornbread. I'm visiting Tifton, GA and just bought some fresh cornmeal and honey at the Agrorama museum

                1. re: meresparky

                  A little real corn is a nice touch. As is a bit of grated carrot (altho not together).

              2. John Thorne's SERIOUS PIG cookbook has the best skillet cornbread ever!
                Skillet Cornbread- 1 8in cornbread

                4 oz (about 1 cup) stone ground cornmeal
                1/2 tsp cream of tartar
                1/2 tsp baking soad
                1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
                1 large egg
                3/4 c buttermilk
                1 tbl lard, rendered bacon fat or peanut oil

                Preheat oven 425
                The Key is to preheat the skillet with the fat or oil, in the over before pouring the batter.
                5 min before you are ready for the batter, heat the skillet.
                Mix ingredients, pour, smooth, bake 20 min. Remove and flip!
                Yum! I am a Notherner but this version beats "ours" hands down! Enjoy!

                1. Too late for the OP's New Year's Day bash, but as the thread got moved up...

                  This is our family recipe for cornbread. My family is from Louisiana and I am the 6th generation baking it this way. My cast iron skillet that I cook it in was my great-grandmother's - over 100 years old. It's interesting reading the different takes on southern cornbread. I agree with others who have said that the ratio of cornmeal to flour is not 1:1 for a traditional good tasting recipe. There is much less flour. If you use any sugar, it should be a very small amount. Coarser ground cornmeal is best, and always use yellow cornmeal, not white cornmeal.

                  Cornbread

                  2 cups coarse ground yellow cornmeal
                  6 Tbsp flour
                  2 tsp sugar
                  4 tsp baking powder
                  2 tsp salt
                  4 eggs, beaten
                  2 Tbsp bacon grease or oil
                  2 cup milk

                  Put skillet on stovetop to heat. When it is hot, oil it well. (I usually just pour a little oil in the skillet and swirl it around. You want enough to cover the bottom of the skillet.) Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, bacon grease or oil, and milk. Pour into hot iron skillet and bake at 425ºF for 15-20 minutes.

                  By pouring the batter in a hot iron skillet you get the nice crust that you want on traditional cornbread.

                  Here's a pic with cornbread in the front. I hope the OP enjoyed whichever recipe that was used.

                   
                  1 Reply
                  1. re: decolady

                    So funny, in my family (Grandmother left Georgia in her teens to come to Texas with my Grandfather), it's only white cornmeal, never, ever yellow.

                    Additionally, we flip the cornbread a little past halfway through the baking time so you get that crust one both sides.

                  2. I got one. We are from North Carolina and this is the recipe my grandmother has made since I was little. It's from an article that appeared in the Charlotte Observer in 1979.

                    1 1/2 white water ground corn meal (sometimes I use 1 C white and 1/2 C yellow)
                    3 T plain flour
                    1 t salt
                    1/2 t baking soda
                    3/4 t baking powder
                    1 3/4 C buttermilk
                    1 egg
                    2 to 3 T shortening or bacon drippings

                    Mix dry ingredients. Beat egg with buttermilk. Heat shortening in a 9 inch iron skillet in a hot oven (use shortening to coat the sides a little). Right before the fat is heated up, mix the egg and buttermilk into the dry ingredients and mix well. Immediately after, pour hot fat from the pan into the batter, stir into batter then pour the batter into the the pan. Bake at 475 until brown and done, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn out immediately (flip over).

                    Also, people in NC (that I know) don't put sugar in their cornbread.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Memily_G

                      This is our recipe, almost exactly. (Buttermilk is optional in this house.) Haflway through cooking, flip over to brown the other side.

                    2. Use anyone of the recipes here but keep the shortening out of the batter. Instead my method is to make my batter, usually using a mix of cornmeal and corn flour as I live gluten free. Then I melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in my skillet on a stove burner. I pour in the batter and put into my preheated oven to bake. It makes a crispy, wonderful buttery crust and the texture of the cornbread is perfect despite not having the shortening mixed in.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: susanl143

                        I use a similar method except I throw the skillet in the oven as it preheats and then put the butter in about five minutes before it is ready. It works really well.

                      2. I also like the Martha White mixes. I mix an envelope of the yellow cornmeal mix and an envelope of the white cornmeal mix together. Sometimes I like to a 1 tablespoon of wheat germ to the batter.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Wtg2Retire

                          Anyone tried White Lily White Cornmeal Mix for cornbread? Making it now...the color seems so wrong ;)

                        2. My wife makes it and is at the grocery store right now, but I can tell you the two most important things: no sugar, and make sure the grease in the skillet is hot enough to make the batter sizzle when poured in. That ensures a great crust. Enjoy.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: steakman55

                            Why the emphasis on no sugar? Why not 'no flour'?

                            1. re: paulj

                              Just a regional thing. Some people (and apparently, pockets w/in the South, like Louisiana) like a bit of sweet in the cornbread, but for those of us brought up on no-sugar, cooked in cast iron cornbread, anything else is just wrong.

                              I wonder if it has something to do with the Reconstruction era after the Civil war, when sugar would've been scarce to those outside of the sugar plantation areas (LA) of the South?

                              1. re: shanagain

                                I'm not wondering why there isn't sugar in southern style cornbread. I'm wondering why people emphasize that difference. It seems to me that the use of cornmeal, without any flour, is a more significant difference. The amount of sugar in northern style cornbread is highly variable, from none to a cake like half cup, though a tablespoon or two is more common.

                                I can imagine a subsistence farmer making cornbread from just the corn that he grew, without any expensive store bought sugar or flour And cornbread and beans where reputed to be the staff of life in poor parts of the Mississippi lowlands. But biscuits, using bleached white flour, are just as much a Southern tradition, as are sweets like ice tea and red velvet cake.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I'd say some people like it a bit more dense, some more airy (I vote for airy), but the line many of us draw really is NO sugar. None. Not a pinch, not a teaspoon, none. Flour changes the texture, but sugar changes both texture and flavor.

                                  1. re: shanagain

                                    How about cornmeal grind? Fine, medium, coarse?

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      Again, I think that's a personal preference that doesn't necessarily define the "proper" Southern cornbread. I prefer a medium grind, and in fact, for good old fashioned cornbread, I like Aunt Jemima white cornmeal. Never, ever yellow. That's fine for frying fish, but not cornbread. Again, oddly, it seems to be the preference in LA. Proving once again that LA is its entirely own space in the world!

                                      I have to say, I've loved this conversation. It's never been something I've thought about - "why" I balk at sugar in cornbread (but will make a sweet corn muffin w/out batting an eye... but it doesn't get near my cast iron).

                                      1. re: shanagain

                                        I forgot about the white v yellow dimension.

                                        I vaguely recall from a search into the flint v dent corn difference, that a dominant strain of corn in the American south was a white developed in Indiana in the late 19th century.

                                        http://www.victoryseeds.com/corn_boon...

                                        The popularity of this strain may have a lot to do with a southern preference for white cornmeal.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          there is a scholarly discussion (perhaps written or linked here on chowhound itself) that i've read concerning which areas and demographic groups in the south preferred white and which preferred yellow meal.

                                          i don't think one can make a blanket statement that southerners necessarily prefer white meal.

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            alkapal, if you can find that discussion, do let us know - Paul and I clearly enjoyed our little sojourn into the history of cornbread. (Oh, the things we do on Chowhound.)

                                            1. re: shanagain

                                              shanagain, i will continue to look for it. in the meantime, there is this thread to amuse you…where paul is still asking the same probing questions. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/492997

                          2. This recipe is insane, not very healthy. I always do mine in my cast iron pan. It has creamed corn not whole kernels.

                            Sara’s Corn Bread

                            1 cup Butter
                            ¾ Cup Sugar
                            4 Eggs
                            1 Cup Flour
                            1 Cup Self Rising Cornmeal
                            1 Tsp Salt
                            ½ Cup Creamed Corn
                            1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
                            1/2 Cup Diced Jalapenos
                            ¼ Cup Chopped green onions

                            Preheat oven to 325

                            Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in flour, cornmeal and salt. When well mixed, fold in creamed corn, cheese and jalapenos.

                            Bake for 45 min to an hour.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: juli5122

                              Those are pickled jalapenos not fresh. Sorry

                            2. Time to bump this thread, thinking of cornbread, beans and greens for New Year's Day. Here is my brother-in-law's father's recipe, from "Old Florida."

                              http://www.chow.com/recipes/30165-dad...

                              1. Suzanne Goin's is the best I've ever had... and I grew up on really good corn bread and have tried many, many recipes. This is now my go-to corn bread and I make it all the time and it is created for a cast iron skillet:

                                http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/cornbr...

                                1. this looks good:

                                  "St. Charles Indian Bread (Mobile, Alabama)

                                  2 eggs
                                  1 pt. Buttermilk
                                  1 pt. White corn meal
                                  1 tablespoon butter
                                  1 scant teaspoon soda
                                  1 teaspoon salt

                                  The instructions are along these lines (altered for copyright purposes):

                                  Lightly beat the eggs. Mix beaten eggs with the buttermilk and the corn meal in an alternating way.

                                  Then add salt and the melted butter, then beat well. Dissolve the soda in 1 tablespoon of the buttermilk, and add it to the other ingredients. Pour into a well-greased pan (I'd make it a HOT greased pan) and bake in a 475 degree oven -- testing after 8-10 minutes to see if a pick comes clean.
                                  ---Adapted from The National Cookbook: A Kitchen Americana, Shelia Hibben [Harper & Brothers:New York] 1932 (p. 14)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    I suspect the instructions could be simplified to - combine the dry ingredients, add the wet and mix.

                                  2. Way too many ingredients in these recipes. No sugar nor flour in real cornbread. True Southern cornbread is just:

                                    -corn meal
                                    -buttermilk
                                    -eggs
                                    -bacon grease

                                    Served fresh out of the skillet with butter and sorghum syrup - that is some larrupin good eatin'!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: jamiecarroll

                                      Are you a true, real Southerner, or just a transplant trying to sound more Southern than everyone else? :)

                                      Where do you stand on the white v yellow divide? Coarse v fine grind? Quaker v stone ground? Martha White v White Lily?

                                      Oh - and do you use baking soda?

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        Paul, I am indeed a lifelong Southerner - Tennessee, specifically. I am very much an amateur in the kitchen, but my grandfather is the best Southern cook that I know. He grew up on a farm in Smith County, Tennessee, and I am trying to learn all I can from him while I can.

                                        I am staunchly in the white cornmeal camp for cornbread. And I always use Martha White, though honestly I have not experimented much with other brands. My grandfather always uses regular cornmeal and adds salt and baking powder, but I often use self-rising cornmeal and it works just fine.

                                        1. re: jamiecarroll

                                          In Seattle Martha White products are rare. though I've found a few at an outlet grocery. Their cornmeal has a finer grind that the Quaker or Albers that I'm used to. Bob's Red Mill has a finer 'corn flour'.

                                          Looks like the MW self-rise mix has wheat flour along with the cornmeal (2nd ingredient). They also make 7 cornbread mixes
                                          http://www.marthawhite.com/products/C...
                                          that appear to compete with Jiff and Krusteaz for sweetness.

                                      2. re: jamiecarroll

                                        jamiecarroll, i am honored to be the first fellow hound to "follow" you here on chowhound. i really was enjoying your blog after you posted here. as starters, i was very happy looking at your shrimp creole, laughed at your "what not to buy for bbq people" and then was happy for the intro to the innovative-menu "gastropod" food truck out of miami (where i have friends).

                                        p.s., those arepas at bonaroo looked good. did they split them and use butter, ever?

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Thanks, alkapal. The blog has been badly neglected in recent months; maybe we'll get back on top of it in 2012? I write it with my friend Rob, with whom I am on a competition barbecue team.

                                          The Bonnaroo review was Rob's, so I am not sure about butter on the arepas, but they sure did look good!

                                      3. i love this version. no sugar, and i can serve to people with gluten issues.

                                        6 tablespoons butter or bacon grease
                                        2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
                                        1 teaspoon baking soda
                                        1 teaspoon baking powder
                                        1 teaspoon salt
                                        1 3/4 cups buttermilk
                                        2 eggs, lightly beaten

                                        put the butter or bacon grease in an 9-inch cast-iron skillet and place in a 450-degree oven. heat until the bubbling subsides.

                                        while fat is heating, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. mix eggs and buttermilk, then stir into dry ingredient. mix in the melted butter or grease and pour the batter into the hot skillet. bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. let cool 15-20 minutes, then invert over a plate or cooling rack. serve warm.

                                        to make a half recipe, use an 8-inch pan and bake for 20 minutes.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: wonderwoman

                                          I'll have to try this... I've been looking for a good recipe for cornbread that will be close to what I remember growing up. I wish I'd been paying attention back then! For some reason, I seem to think there was no flour or sugar (or sweetener) involved. I remember liking it best when it was a dense, crusty thing with melting butter on top (or middle), and/or with beans and bean "juice" (or "pot likker") all over it. If it is too fluffy or moist, it will just turn to mush if you put beans with the bean juice over it. When the cornbread is too fluffy, I always want to cut part of it off (the less crusty side) so some reasonable amount of butter can get through the whole thing and still have some "crunch". (Same with muffins and cupcakes. Why do they make them so tall? I always want to cut about an inch off the bottom so I can get a full bite of frosting and all!) And I expect a little "crunch" in the bite (unless it's soaked in the beans)--like the difference between toasted and untoasted bread. I want my cornbread to have texture more like very well toasted bread than untoasted bread. But in the end, as long as it's not too sweet or soft/fluffy, I just love cornbread... especially with a wonderful bowl of beans. It makes a simple dinner that is pure comfort food for me! And I don't really care if it is white corn or yellow corn or anything else, as long as it's not sweet and has that dense, crusty texture that is so perfect to pour the beans over. If I was eating it without beans, I could see adding other ingredients (corn, creamed corn, etc.) to the cornbread mix, or having it less dense. But I generally think of beans and cornbread together... And as strongly as I feel about how I want my cornbread, I realize cornbread is one of those things people feel really strongly about, one way or another, and that usually depends on how they had it while growing up...

                                          1. re: Lea97

                                            i've also baked these in madeleine tins -- a great alternative to muffin tins (and cupcakes for sweets). bake about 10 minutes.

                                              1. re: wonderwoman

                                                There are cast iron pans with corn cob shaped indentations

                                          2. from MarilynInMiamiFL:

                                            White Cornbread is from white corn, and makes a wonderfully moist corn bread. We never use yellow.

                                            White Cornbread
                                            “A wonderfully moist corn bread”
                                            Preheat oven to 425ºF.

                                            Mix together:
                                            1 cup WHITE cornmeal
                                            ½ teaspoon baking soda
                                            1 ½ teaspoons double acting baking powder
                                            1 to 2 Tablespoons sugar
                                            1 teaspoon salt
                                            ¾ cup all purpose flour
                                            Set aside

                                            Combine and beat:
                                            1½ cups buttermilk** (if you don’t have buttermilk see below)
                                            2 eggs
                                            3 to 4 Tablespoons melted butter

                                            Directions:
                                            Mix in dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
                                            Pour into heated greased baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
                                            Serve hot with butter.

                                            ** Buttermilk Equivalents and Measures
                                            • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup milk PLUS 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice (let stand for 10 minutes before using in recipe)
                                            • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup milk PLUS 1-3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              As others have mentioned, the trick with great cornbread is to put the cast iron pan in the oven while you are preheating it. Then pour the dough into the greased hot pan and stick it back in the oven. This gives you the most yummy crust on the bottom.

                                              My recipe, which I have refined over the years is:

                                              1 1/4 cups coarse stone ground cornmeal
                                              3/4 cup white flour
                                              1/2 teaspoon salt
                                              1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                              1 teaspoon baking powder
                                              1 tablespoon chili powder (optional)
                                              1 tablespoon sugar
                                              1 tablespoon honey (you can also use molasses if you don't mind brown cornbread)
                                              1 large egg
                                              1 cup buttermilk or unsweetened kefir
                                              4-5 tablespoons fat -- canola oil, butter, bacon fat, whatever you like. I prefer 3 tbsp. canola oil + 2 tbsp. butter. I put the oil and butter in the hot pan to melt the butter and grease the pan at the same time.

                                              Put pan in oven while preheating it to 375-400 degrees

                                              Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl

                                              in a medium-sized bowl beat together the egg and molasses (and honey, if you are using it instead of sugar) then blend in the kerif or buttermilk. gradually add the hot oil/ butter mixture to this mix while whisking it in. Mix wet ingredients into the dry with just enough swift stirring to blend. Pour the dough into a hot 12" cast iron skillet, bake for approx. 25 minutes, remove and eat. The BEST cornbread, guaranteed, it is rich and doesn't need any butter or anything else on it, just eat as is. The honey keeps the cornbread nice and moist.

                                            2. Sorry to post this here but I am unable to find the Chowhound setting/link so that I can turn off notifications I keep getting in my email box. I am currently unenabled for notifications yet they keep coming in from this post that I responded to last year. It happened recently [2 weeks ago] although I had changed nothing. Can anyone help? Thx.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: miiki5760

                                                have you tried emailing the mods? or going onto site talk?

                                              2. Dixie Corn Bread

                                                2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or drippings
                                                1-1/2 cups Quaker Enriched White Corn Meal
                                                3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
                                                1 teaspoon salt
                                                1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                2 cups buttermilk*
                                                1 egg

                                                Preheat oven to 450°F.

                                                Place shortening in 9-inch skillet with ovenproof handle or 8-inch square baking pan.

                                                Place in oven about 3 minutes. Skillet will be very hot when shortening is melted.

                                                While skillet is heating, in large bowl combine corn meal, flour, salt and baking soda; add buttermilk and egg, mixing well.

                                                Pour batter into hot prepared skillet.

                                                Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until surface cracks and edges are light golden brown and pull away from side of pan. Serve hot with butter.

                                                Yield: 8 servings

                                                TIP: * To make buttermilk from regular milk, place 2 tablespoons vinegar OR lemon juice in 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Add milk to make 2 cups; stir. Let stand 5 minutes before using.

                                                VARIATIONS:

                                                Muffins or Corn Sticks - Pour corn bread batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups OR hot well-greased corn stick pans. Bake in preheated 425°F oven 15 to 18 minutes. Yield: 12 muffins or about 14 corn sticks.

                                                Mexican Corn Bread - Stir 1 cup whole kernel corn, 2 tablespoons chopped green chilies and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder into batter. Bake in greased or sprayed 8-inch square pan in preheated 425°F oven 22 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; top with 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese.

                                                Source:Quaker Oats website (Archive.org Wayback machine 2002)

                                                1. i just bought some buttermilk because of this thread! LOL.

                                                  1. I'm in the No sugar or flour in my cornbread camp here is a break down of regions who use the different ingredients and baking methods from a Southern cookbook

                                                    South- Prefers White cornmeal, none to very little flour & sugar and a cast iron pan used for baking

                                                    Southwest- Prefers Yellow cornmeal with some Flour & None to very little Sugar and a baking pan

                                                    Rest of U.S.- Prefers Yellow cornmeal with lots of Flour & Sugar and Baking pan or Muffin tin for baking

                                                    1. Here is a cornbread recipe that I've used for years. No fancy ingredients here just plain ole good southern cornbread

                                                      Southern cornbread

                                                      2 cups white self - rising cornmeal
                                                      1/2-TSP baking soda
                                                      2 eggs, beaten
                                                      2-cups buttermilk
                                                      2- tablespoons bacon grease (or vegetable oil)
                                                      #6 cast iron skillet

                                                      Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place both tablespoons of fat of choice in a #6 cast iron skillet (bacon grease taste the best but vegetable oil or shortening works with a little added salt) Put
                                                      skillet in oven to preheat, Combine cornmeal, baking soda, eggs and buttermilk in bowl.
                                                      Whisk together until well blended. Carefully remove hot skillet from oven and pour grease from skillet into batter. Pour batter into skillet which will sizzle and may splatter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes

                                                      1. A very interesting thread. I personally am Albanian and have to say that we have one thing in common with the South and that is No Sugar. And we always use yellow coarse corn flour for it.

                                                        One variation that we use is that we crumble feta cheese and mix it in the batter before sticking in the oven.

                                                        We eat cornbread mainly during winter toasted with a layer of butter on top some fresh feta cheese and a cup of mountain tea (the tea comes with lemon juice and not milk).

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: iliria

                                                          Apparently the Greek name (or regional?) for a cornbread like this is 'bobota', though there are a number of different recipes on the web. Some savory (or with cheese), others with sugar and orange juice.

                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/668760

                                                          http://www.aglaiakremezi.com/articles...
                                                          discusses an Albanian and Greek connection in this cornbread.

                                                          "Whether it was warm or cold and hardened, we would crumble my mother's cornbread in a bowl, toss it with watery homemade yogurt, and eat it as people now eat packaged cereal,"
                                                          sounds like Americans crumbling leftover cornbread into buttermilk.

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            Very true indeed. Actually in Albania we used to crumble cornbread either in yoghurt or in hot milk. Hot milk was my favourite one. If I remember correctly my grandma used to say that the reason people used cornbread a lot in times of war was because it could store a lot longer than normal bread and didn't go moldy quickly. The cornbread we bought in the shops was round, 1 inch thick and around 10 inches in diameter and the crust especially was tasty as hell.

                                                        2. being a southern girl and growing up with home cooking like my moms cooking, she made cornbread all the time, i do too... and no sugar.. i even make my own pancakes... i always use a large iron skillet (my current boyfriend/companion's mother makes the best according to her family and she makes her with no sugar... and no butter... the recipes listed are good, but leave out the sugar and butter... the flour to cornmeal ratio is a preference. the finer the cornmeal the more cake like it is, cornbread shoud be a little less cake like, bread ofra bread like grain, so i do about 2 cups of flour (plain) and 1 1/2-3/4 cornmeal (yellow or white ok) (plain) if you use self rising omit the baking powder and salt. 2 cups buttermilk (or plain milk) add the 1 tsp baking soda (it reduces the acid in the buttermilk- stabelizes it. add 2 eggs; mix well... then make sure skillet is hot ( i put about 2 tblsp of lard in skillet put in oven and get it real real hot.. the cornbread sizzles when i put it in the pan. ( 450 degrees) bake about 20- minutes, till golden and a knife can inserted in the center and comes out clean; i use toothpicks and poke around a few places to make sure it all cooked through...) let rest a few mintues then turn out onto a plate, serve warm with butter... mmmm good... some southerners add crackllin' to it... you'd have to ask your meat market for it and get it fresh; you would add about 1/2 - 3/4 cups to mixture before bakiing.

                                                          enjoy