HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What are you cooking today? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Cornbread: Sweet or Savory?

weewah Dec 19, 2010 12:14 AM

It is economics that's behind why northerners (generally) eat cornbread w/ sugar in the batter and southerners (generally) don't.

In the South, cornbread was eaten as a bread with your meal and you used it to sop up juices. Cornbread was used for basic sanwiches and as a base to pour your beans & ham hocks or other stewed dishes on (crumbled on greenbeans etc) You do not want sweetened cornbread for this - I can tell you sweet cornbread will spoil a dish of pinto beans instantly - ugh.

White bread was called 'lightbread' and most people couldn't afford much of it in the depressed South; flour was far more costly than cornmeal.
Biscuits on Sunday and rolls for Sunday dinner might use up the weekly budget for wheat flour. Of course those days are long gone now, thank God!

I have a lot of Northern-type friends and they insist on sugar in cornbread. But then they aren't accustomed to eat the cornnbread mixed w/ their main meal. They eat it as muffins, a sweet cake, plain or with butter.
I like sweet corn muffins just fine, but they are not the utilitarian Cornbread that is indespensible in Southern dining, to be used as a sop and an accompanyment to your main dishes.

I have dicussed this w/ people from all over, and most have an opinion. I'm curious what Chowhounders will answer with regard to this.
Thanks : )

  1. shanagain Dec 27, 2010 02:11 PM

    I will leave a tiny bit of room for both - there is one soup I make that which isn't ruined by sweet cornbread muffins. They're almost good with it. ;)

    But our way (Texan with Deep South roots) is no sugar, poured into just-shy-of-smoking bacon grease in a hot cast iron skillet. Halfway through the whole thing is flipped to brown the other side.

    I've seen corn and jalapeno versions sold in restaurants, but consider those Not Cornbread, like you can make a stew and call it chili, it doesn't mean i "is." (Or as Ann Richards once quoted: "Just cuz the cat had kittens in the oven doesn't make 'em biscuits.")

    1. Tripeler Dec 26, 2010 04:59 AM

      To me, if it's necessary to add sugar, then the batter ain't no damn good. A fair measure of bacon fat with lots of crispies, and a buttermilk for the liquid, along with a good grade of cornmeal, and there is no need for sugar.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Tripeler
        v
        vafarmwife Dec 26, 2010 05:21 AM

        AMEN!

        1. re: vafarmwife
          bayoucook Dec 26, 2010 07:53 AM

          AMEN! +1

      2. Will Owen Dec 25, 2010 02:44 PM

        Growing up in the Midwest, our family's notion of cornbread was either Jiffy mix or the recipe from the BH&G cookbook, which was more of the same. Sweet, sweet, sweet … Then in my 30s I moved to Nashville, and discovered REAL cornbread. Got a copy of "Miss Mary's Downhome Cooking", recipes from Mary Bobo's famed boarding house in Lynchburg, and there was her Skillet Cornbread with NO sugar and NO flour. My first variation on her recipe was to chop up a bunch of bacon into the skillet and put that in the oven while it was preheating. When the oven was hot and the bacon done, that and the fat got beat into the batter, batter poured into the skillet, skillet back into the oven and Bingo. Wow! I never looked back …

        1. Perilagu Khan Dec 21, 2010 09:52 AM

          Strictly savory, and with no whole kernels of corn in it. Jalapeno bits are entirely permissible. Said bread needs to be cooked in a cast-iron skillet, although cornbread cakes--in the fashion of a pancake--are also good.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Perilagu Khan
            c oliver Dec 21, 2010 11:20 AM

            As I mentioned above, you might want to try one of these:

            http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Cast-Iron...

            I agree about no corn kernels but yes to jalapeno.

            1. re: c oliver
              Perilagu Khan Dec 21, 2010 11:37 AM

              Owned something similar to that, once. I had problems with the cornbread sticking. Maybe I didn't use enough shortening.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                c oliver Dec 21, 2010 11:53 AM

                I put the shortening in before preheating. Then I can kinda tilt it around to cover better. Lots of crunchies plus it awful good for dunking in chili.

                1. re: c oliver
                  Perilagu Khan Dec 21, 2010 01:20 PM

                  Dunking in chili is good.

          2. r
            racer x Dec 20, 2010 10:04 PM

            I grew up in Chicago, but my family is mostly from the South.

            We ate cornbread with the main meals, not, as described in the OP, as a separate item. Sometimes 8-inch cake slices, sometimes muffins. Slathered with butter. Leftovers might be enjoyed as a separate snack, though.

            Usually it was the Jiffy mix, so yes, pretty sweet. And usually baked in the oven. But occasionally baked in a skillet in the oven, or even a skillet on the stove top.

            On rare occasions, it was made from scratch without sugar (johnny cakes). And as a kid I was always disgusted when my excitement over having cornbread, one of my favorite foods, was crushed on finding out that it was going to be a bland (ie not sweet) cornbread night.

            I still much prefer sweet cornbread, although the level of sweetness can vary. I'm good with savory cornbread just so long as there is something else in it to make it tasty (grease, corn, cheese, smoky flavors, peppers).

            1. iL Divo Dec 20, 2010 08:46 PM

              UB did you post your corn bread recipe?

              1. r
                redfish62 Dec 20, 2010 01:22 PM

                Cornbread is one of the few things I can actually make, the same skillet recipe you see above, no sugar. When I was a poor student it was one of my luxuries, fresh cornbread.

                Reading all this has made me realize I need to start making cornbread again.

                1. i
                  invictus Dec 20, 2010 12:27 PM

                  Not to mention that sweet cornbread would not bode well in cornbread dressing, a Southern staple.

                  I've lived in Texas all my life, parents from Louisiana, and I never had sweet cornbread until Boston Market moved into the region! I like it, but I think of it more like the corn muffins you get in the northeast.

                  And, to satisfy the sweet tooth of us kids, my mother would - on occasion - make the Malt-O-Meal muffins from the recipe on the box!

                  1. mucho gordo Dec 20, 2010 11:38 AM

                    Cornbread for sandwiches?? I didn't think the texture of any cornbread would make it sandwich material. Now, there is a corn rye bread that would work, but it's not the same as the standard cornbread we're discuccing here.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: mucho gordo
                      Naco Dec 20, 2010 11:47 AM

                      Look about 3/4ths of the way down this blog entry for a picture of a collard sandwich, made with cornbread, from southeastern NC:

                      http://www.ncfolk.org/NCFood/LumbeeHo...

                      Lace cornbread works just fine, too.

                      1. re: Naco
                        mucho gordo Dec 20, 2010 11:59 AM

                        AHA! Fried cornbread. Obviously a different texture than the crumbly, baked.

                        1. re: mucho gordo
                          f
                          fourunder Dec 20, 2010 12:02 PM

                          I'd be willing to try that cornbread waffle suggestion....

                          1. re: mucho gordo
                            Naco Dec 20, 2010 12:11 PM

                            Baked can work, too. Some of the local barbecue places here in eastern NC have a thick, dense baked cornbread that my grandfather called corn pone which works well like this.

                            Crumbly cornbread seems to mostly be a Northern phenomenon to me.

                            1. re: Naco
                              mucho gordo Dec 20, 2010 01:18 PM

                              I thought so, too, until I ate some at "Mom's BBQ House" a Creole place nearby, They serve the same crumbly cornbread I'm used to.

                      2. vil Dec 20, 2010 11:32 AM

                        It was first introduced to me as sweet, as with pretty much all instances of cornbread you would find in Canada. I did, however, usually reduce the amount of sugar called for in recipes when making it at home.

                        But it never occurred to me that cornbread can be made sugar-free too! (Although technically, there is still plenty of sweetness in the corn itself). After reading this thread, I will definitely make my first sugar-free cornbread very soon, which, IMO, is much more versatile. I can drench it in butter and maple syrup as a snack, or I can serve it as a side with dinner.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: vil
                          l
                          lowtone9 Dec 27, 2010 02:25 PM

                          You meant cane syrup, right?

                          1. re: lowtone9
                            paulj Dec 27, 2010 03:31 PM

                            A Canadian would probably stick with the local maple syrup. To get cane syrup he'd have buy a British import (Golden syrup).

                            1. re: paulj
                              iL Divo Dec 28, 2010 03:48 PM

                              Ah, Golden syrup. Love the stuff straight up out of the green can.

                              2 days ago our DD wanted to make her favorite chili which is the recipe online for South Beach chicken
                              chili. She's made it for us before, it's really delicious. Since her brother was joining us for dinner he asked for corn bread to sop up the chili. She'd bought a round loaf of extra sour sourdough and wanted it. She asked me to oblige her brothers' wish so I made
                              cornbread.

                              Thinking of this thread made me giggle because I had no recipe but lots of ingredients and went to work.
                              All good things went into the mix including sugar. Probably being contrary but gad it was good.

                        2. paulj Dec 20, 2010 09:13 AM

                          Boston Brown Bread is another example of a northern cornbread. Recipes usually call for equal parts whole wheat, rye, and corn (a type of 'thirded bread"), and is heavily flavored with molasses and raisins. It is steamed in a can. Until yesterday I've only had it in the commercially canned form.

                          Molasses and corn are the main ingredients in another NE classic, Indian pudding.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: paulj
                            Uncle Bob Dec 20, 2010 09:27 AM

                            Never had the brown bread Paul...but many, many moons ago... we used to enjoy the Indian Pudding...Think I'll have some on Christmas Day along with my traditional Puck-A-Nut Pie...I shall inform the wife when she walks in the door.....:)

                            1. re: Uncle Bob
                              paulj Dec 20, 2010 09:56 AM

                              The most common commercial brand of Brown Bread is B&M, which is best known for its baked beans. The two go together.
                              http://www.bgfoods.com/bm/bm_products...

                              1. re: paulj
                                Naco Dec 20, 2010 10:01 AM

                                An unfortunate brand name, given the product.

                                1. re: paulj
                                  iL Divo Dec 20, 2010 08:45 PM

                                  Oh I remember that stuff from years ago, took both ends off and pushed.

                                  1. re: iL Divo
                                    Will Owen Dec 25, 2010 02:37 PM

                                    My grandma would slice that up and serve it to us for lunch with a smear of cream cheese. Oh, the toils of a deprived childhood ;-)

                            2. Naco Dec 20, 2010 06:53 AM

                              Take it away, Mark Twain:

                              "For instance, the corn bread, the hot biscuits and wheatbread and the fried chicken. These things have never been properly cooked in the North — in fact, no one there is able to learn the art, so far as my experience goes. The North thinks it knows how to make corn bread, but this is gross superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern corn bread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite so bad as the Northern imitation of it."

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Naco
                                Uncle Bob Dec 20, 2010 08:04 AM

                                Ha! Ha! A very wise man indeed!!

                                1. re: Naco
                                  drdelicious Dec 23, 2010 06:03 AM

                                  Amen

                                2. e
                                  Edward Tyson Dec 19, 2010 06:56 PM

                                  Traditional Southern cornbread is not sweet. There are variations that are sweet or have a sweet component. I prefer plain cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet or made into a batter and fried in a vegetable oil with a little bit of bacon fat..

                                  1. paulj Dec 19, 2010 05:50 PM

                                    When it comes to the history of cornbread we are all amatures. Here's a pro:
                                    http://www.amazon.com/Cornbread-Gospe...
                                    The Cornbread Gospels

                                    and on Google bookshttp://books.google.com/books?id=3sdQ-MtWRMkC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

                                    1. i
                                      Isolda Dec 19, 2010 05:13 PM

                                      My parents are southern, but I have lived in New England for all of my adult life. I grew up eating the buttery, dry, crunchy southern cornbread (think Morrison's cafeterias) even though my parents moved to the west coast when I was about 9. My mother never used sugar and hardly used any flour in her cornbread at all. (buttermilk-cornmeal-egg, etc) Once in a while, she'd stir in some bacon.

                                      The first time I tasted New England cornbread, I didn't even recognize it. I just thought it was a really salty yellow cake. I've grown to like it, however, but only for breakfast or a snack.

                                      1. chowser Dec 19, 2010 01:38 PM

                                        Possibly because southerners down their cornbread with sweetened ice tea and northerners go w/ unsweetened so they reverse the corn bread accordingly. ;-) Either way, I use both, depending on what I'm having with it. Nothing beats a good corn bread in bacon in a cast iron skillet but I won't give up my sweet Durgin Park cornbread that's more flour than cornmeal. If it's good, I'll eat it.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: chowser
                                          i
                                          Isolda Dec 19, 2010 05:15 PM

                                          That's a brilliant theory! It also explains why the Japanese can stand that bitter matcha tea--they just eat it with sugary sweet cakes.

                                          1. re: Isolda
                                            c
                                            Chowrin Dec 19, 2010 05:28 PM

                                            ocha is sweet.

                                            1. re: Isolda
                                              vil Dec 20, 2010 11:22 AM

                                              Yes it is! Been practising that for a long time myself (such as sugarless coffee with sweet, sweet pastries), ever since I find myself having a lower and lower threshold for sweetness, before getting overloaded. It is brilliant there are so many instances of it, some represented in tradition.

                                              1. re: Isolda
                                                EWSflash Dec 20, 2010 04:55 PM

                                                I've never had bitter matcha, and I've had a ton of matcha, I drink it every day. I've never had it with cornbread, though

                                            2. horseshoe Dec 19, 2010 01:16 PM

                                              I like the sweet vrs's the unsweet.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: horseshoe
                                                g
                                                guilty Dec 19, 2010 08:52 PM

                                                +1

                                              2. s
                                                sisterfunkhaus Dec 19, 2010 11:19 AM

                                                Hmmm. I'm from Texas, which I consider the south, and lots of people here eat sweet cornbread. I like savory and sweet. I like unsweetened cornbread with jalapeños and plain cornbread a little sweet.

                                                I don't know if any of you have tried this, but cornbread batter cooked up in a waffle iron is fantastic. I know it's not traditional, but it is fabulous.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: sisterfunkhaus
                                                  paulj Dec 19, 2010 11:40 AM

                                                  I suspect that preferences in the early 1800s are easier to explain based on growing conditions and demographics, than modern day preferences. For a while Tennessee was the foremost corn growing state in the US. This was also a time when it was easiest to ship corn to market in the form of whiskey. But it hard to explain why a German American in Texas would prefer a different cornbread than one in Wisconsin. Or whether a poor Southern farmer would change his preferences upon migrating to the steel mills of northern Indiana.

                                                  This distinction between a pure corn southern style and a sweet northern cake is handy, but hardly bulletproof.

                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                    c oliver Dec 19, 2010 11:50 AM

                                                    Good points, paulj.

                                                  2. re: sisterfunkhaus
                                                    Firegoat Dec 20, 2010 05:50 AM

                                                    Never heard of the cornbread cooked in a waffle iron. I've got to give that a try! Thanks for the idea.

                                                  3. paulj Dec 19, 2010 08:55 AM

                                                    On other topics Food Timeline has proven to be a good summary of historical information. Here's its entry on cornbread
                                                    http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodfaq.h...

                                                    1. g
                                                      gilintx Dec 19, 2010 08:50 AM

                                                      Oh man, I caught holy hell for ever considering sugar (or gasp! creamed corn) in my cornbread shortly after I married my wife. In fairness, I was working from a recipe I found in a book, whereas she was working from an index card with her granny's recipe. These days, I'm sold on the savory variety, fried in an iron skillet, and laden with bacon drippings.

                                                      1. Veggo Dec 19, 2010 08:05 AM

                                                        There's a place for both. I like a nice center-cut square of mildly sweet cornbread at Threadgills in Austin with the 5-vegetable platter because I dump a lot of Tabasco on the fried okra and creamed spinach. The signature jalapeno cornbread at the Hotel Boulderado in Colorado goes well with every Sunday brunch item.

                                                        1. paulj Dec 19, 2010 07:40 AM

                                                          The unsweetened southern cornbread may well have its roots among poor subsistence farmers who lived mainly on the corn they grew. But biscuits and sweet cakes are also part of southern cooking, so it is clear that wheat flour was available. But the flour we associate with the south is softer, more suitable to these items than yeast bread.

                                                          It would harder, I think, to trace the sweet half flour, half corn northern style back very far. In colonial New England, their corn 'bread' probably was closer to Rhode Island Johnny cakes. Reliable baking powder dates from the mid 1800s. There was active trade from the West Indies to New England, but sugar was mostly shipped in the form of molasses which could be turned into rum. That quintessential NE dessert, Indian pudding, is cornmeal sweetened with molasses.

                                                          I think you are right abut where cornbread fits in the current (and recent past) cuisines - more of 'bread' in the south, more of a side or breakfast/supper item in the north.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                            c
                                                            Chowrin Dec 19, 2010 08:27 AM

                                                            cornbread's cherokee, an' a buncha other Indian tribes. I like mine savory (just a pinch of sugar). And for the love of god, Not Fluffy! no egg needed.

                                                            1. re: Chowrin
                                                              paulj Dec 19, 2010 08:46 AM

                                                              Is there much information on how corn was prepared by the Cherokee and other tribes before colonial contact? Stews, porridge, parched corn, maybe even some sort of griddle cake baked on a hot stone are likely, but cornbread baked in an iron skillet has to have a later date. It may be hard to separate the cornbread made by Cherokees from that made by their Scotch-Irish neighbors.

                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                c
                                                                Chowrin Dec 19, 2010 08:49 AM

                                                                skillet/hot stone likely, plus baking powder for a pinch of leavening (down south at least, and I mean pueblo south)

                                                          2. m
                                                            magiesmom Dec 19, 2010 06:48 AM

                                                            I love cornbread and would not consider sugar.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: magiesmom
                                                              iL Divo Dec 19, 2010 07:12 AM

                                                              I just think there's a place for both kinds, sweet and savory

                                                            2. iL Divo Dec 19, 2010 06:40 AM

                                                              I think Marie Calender recipe calls for half recipe of corn bread and half of a yellow cake mix and mix the two. Hers is light and sweet, not heavy or dense and with a whipped butter and maybe some honey, yummm

                                                              21 Replies
                                                              1. re: iL Divo
                                                                GraydonCarter Dec 19, 2010 01:41 PM

                                                                As a guy raised in both the North and the South, I prefer a moister version, but not the cake style. Too many yankees make their cornbread like a light cake. On the other hand, I don't like the dry, salty cornbread I was served in the South.

                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                  iL Divo Dec 19, 2010 03:30 PM

                                                                  I don't care for the dry stuff either.
                                                                  If I reach for a quick glass of milk, it's a bust for me...........
                                                                  plus the fam doesn't like it dry either........

                                                                  1. re: iL Divo
                                                                    Uncle Bob Dec 19, 2010 07:10 PM

                                                                    "If I reach for a quick glass of milk, it's a bust for me" ~~~

                                                                    Reminds me...Not so far in the distant past, left over cornbread crumbled into a glass of milk/buttermilk was treat for a quick Sunday night supper. Usually after a big Sunday dinner, "Milk & Bread" .was just enough to tide one over till breakfast....

                                                                    Fun!

                                                                    1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                      Uncle Bob Dec 20, 2010 05:41 AM

                                                                      Milk & Bread = Leftover cornbread crumbled into a glass of sweet milk or buttermilk....Eaten as a light simple supper...usually after a big Sunday dinner.

                                                                       
                                                                      1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                        c oliver Dec 20, 2010 06:17 AM

                                                                        I've never had CB in sweet milk only in buttermilk. I think it's something one had to grow up eating, don't you?

                                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                                          Uncle Bob Dec 20, 2010 06:50 AM

                                                                          Yes, I think so...It's an acquired taste for sure... I learned it from my
                                                                          Grandmother, who had learned it from her mother, who had learned it from..... etc. etc. My wife, a Southern girl who loves milk and loves cornbread can't stand it!! Bless her heart! :)

                                                                        2. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                          deet13 Dec 21, 2010 06:04 PM

                                                                          Whenever we went to my grandmothers house, a bowl of milk and day old cornbread was considered a quick breakfast item. My cousin and I used to spice it up by adding a spoonful of chocolate milk powder to the milk, which my grandmother loved giving us.

                                                                          My grandfather used to eat it with buttermilk, which is something I never really liked as a kid.

                                                                          1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                            bayoucook Dec 26, 2010 04:46 AM

                                                                            Yum.

                                                                          2. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                            iL Divo Dec 20, 2010 05:58 AM

                                                                            Getting a nostalgic visual UB, very sweet (and) I'll bet delicious too.
                                                                            In our household it was 3 individual squares of a saltine spread with the thinnest sheathe of real churned butter.

                                                                            1. re: iL Divo
                                                                              Uncle Bob Dec 20, 2010 06:09 AM

                                                                              Not so sweet really....There is/was no sugar in the bread, and the milk was just like it came out of the cow...or off your grocers shelf. Delicious? Yes!!

                                                                              1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                iL Divo Dec 20, 2010 06:15 AM

                                                                                I didn't mean sweet that way UB, I meant it's a darling story.................
                                                                                sweet as in, oh the memory...............

                                                                                1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                  Uncle Bob Dec 20, 2010 06:41 AM

                                                                                  Aw shucks ma'am...I'm sorry I misunderstood the point of your kind reply... :)

                                                                                  My Warmest Regards and a very Merry Christmas!!

                                                                                  1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                    iL Divo Dec 20, 2010 08:40 PM

                                                                                    It is a Merry Christmas UB and a very Merry Christmas to you as well.

                                                                            2. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                              jamiecarroll Dec 21, 2010 12:36 PM

                                                                              Crumbled up cornbread in glass of buttermilk? Round here, we call that a hillbilly milkshake.

                                                                              1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                Perilagu Khan Dec 21, 2010 01:17 PM

                                                                                I had this for breakfast this morning.

                                                                                Learned the trick from my dad, and I still use an old amber Fostoria glass (part of a set that was a wedding gift for my parents back in '65) to eat it from.

                                                                                1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                  drdelicious Dec 23, 2010 05:42 AM

                                                                                  We used to dip our cornbread in the milk too... I believe in Louisiana it's called cushcush (varieties of spelling there). Anyways, when we were served cornbread in the cafeteria at school, this is what you did after you finished the entree. Pour out milk in the little cornbread square of the tray and eat it. I have never had sweetened cornbread like they make up North, but I probably wouldn't immediately know it was cornbread if I was served it.

                                                                              2. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                                Uncle Bob Dec 19, 2010 06:36 PM

                                                                                In My South, Corn Bread is not dry nor overly salty. Rather it has a browned top, a tender moist crumb, a delightfully crusty bottom and sides, and it damn sure "ain't" Sweet! ~~ Dry cornbread would indicate to me..over cooked, stale bread, or maybe dried out under some type of "cafeteria" heat lamps, a screwed up recipe, an incompetent cook or all of the above ~~ Finding a good example of Southern (non sweet) cornbread outside of a home would be a hit or miss proposition as most institutional or chain establishments miss the boat! Cornbread is at it's best just out of the oven, turned out of a cast iron skillet, cut into wedges and eaten...

                                                                                Have Fun & Enjoy!

                                                                                1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                  c oliver Dec 19, 2010 08:02 PM

                                                                                  +1

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                                    bayoucook Dec 26, 2010 04:47 AM

                                                                                    +2

                                                                                  2. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                    s
                                                                                    sweetTooth Dec 20, 2010 01:07 PM

                                                                                    Would you mind posting a recipe please, Uncle Bob? I lived a year in Mississippi and really miss the home made corn bread colleagues would bring in. It was the crusty on the bottom kind, not sweet at all and super yummy. This was invariably a day old, not fresh out of the oven. I've tried recreating a couple of times with recipes from cookbooks, but mine turned out dry even within a couple of hours. Thanks!

                                                                                    1. re: sweetTooth
                                                                                      bayoucook Dec 26, 2010 04:48 AM

                                                                                      see my reply above - that crusty top comes from that method - -

                                                                              3. Uncle Bob Dec 19, 2010 06:33 AM

                                                                                No sugar !!!!!!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                  v
                                                                                  Val Dec 19, 2010 11:05 AM

                                                                                  I stand with Uncle Bob and others who nix the sugar in cornbread, and my favorite method is to bake it in a hot cast iron skillet smeared with bacon drippings.

                                                                                  1. re: Val
                                                                                    bayoucook Dec 26, 2010 04:45 AM

                                                                                    Agree with you and Uncle Bob: no sugar. A hot cast iron skillet with oil, butter, or bacon fat, then add some dry cornmeal or cornmeal mix - when it starts to brown and sizzle add the cornbread batter and bake in a hot oven. Delicious.

                                                                                2. jmcarthur8 Dec 19, 2010 06:19 AM

                                                                                  I never had cornbread at all growing up. I spent almost 30 years in Indiana, and love the sweet cornbread I always had there. Now I live in Georgia, and my rural Georgian co-worker gives me her sweet cornbread, and I give her my dry crumbly cornbread when we get take-out meals.

                                                                                  She likes the Southern kind because she crumbles it into her buttermilk or into her greens, and that would just be icky with the sweet stuff.
                                                                                  I like the sweet kind with butter as a side, or even as a snack with tea.

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jmcarthur8
                                                                                    iL Divo Dec 19, 2010 06:43 AM

                                                                                    the dry variety of cornbread sounds like it would be a great addition to a well seasoned and well cooked green bean casserole. the idea of sprinkling it over the top and baking or even mixing in, I love that. add some crispy bacon bit and well cooked chunks of potato and that'd be all I'd need for dinner.

                                                                                    thanks for the idea

                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                      mamachef Dec 19, 2010 02:40 PM

                                                                                      If you sprinkle it on top and drizzle it with some melted butter, I could be there in no time flat with a good bottle of dry white and a salad - or some hothouse tomatoes if I can find them, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic and kosher salt and pepper.

                                                                                      1. re: mamachef
                                                                                        iL Divo Dec 19, 2010 03:32 PM

                                                                                        YUMMMMMMM

                                                                                    2. re: jmcarthur8
                                                                                      vil Dec 20, 2010 11:37 AM

                                                                                      Just for my curiosity. Does that mean the non-sweet ones will come out drier? Or do they just tend to get more stale without the sugar? I thought they would still be moist with all the fat added in.

                                                                                      1. re: vil
                                                                                        jmcarthur8 Dec 20, 2010 02:12 PM

                                                                                        Every time I've had Southern style cornbread here in Georgia, it has been freshly made (by native Georgians who "cook Southern"), and is dry and crumbly from the get-go. Usually it's been made in a cast iron skillet, but I don't know if that makes a difference.

                                                                                        1. re: vil
                                                                                          c
                                                                                          Chowrin Dec 21, 2010 03:57 AM

                                                                                          the more flour, the less crumbly. corn doesn't like to stick so good...

                                                                                          1. re: Chowrin
                                                                                            vil Dec 21, 2010 08:44 AM

                                                                                            I see and thanks, both of you. This will be helpful as I experiment with the recipes. I am hoping to maximize on the corn flavour but retaining the moistness too. I am already visualizing a recipe with corn kernels.

                                                                                      2. b
                                                                                        breadfan Dec 19, 2010 02:44 AM

                                                                                        I was raised a "swamp yankee" from Rhode Island. We had Johnny Cakes while growing up. My father being a preacher we didn't have much money. I have never heard of sugar in cornbread. My Mom would make a thin corn batter, no sugar no salt and fry them in oil. When we had a "little extra" she would make corn bread with corn kernels, onions and a jalapeno in it. Corn bread was more prevalent in our home yet we have no southern roots, served on the side, on top or under our meal. Maybe it was because my Mom was the "original" Girl Scout and cornbread was easiest for camping.

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: breadfan
                                                                                          v
                                                                                          vafarmwife Dec 19, 2010 03:22 AM

                                                                                          The cooking method you describe is what we call fried bread or skillet bread. Russian corn bread had a can of cream style corn and sour cream in it- don't know how that made it Russian. Mexican corn bread had a can of mexi-corn it and maybe green pepper. My grandmother would fancy up cornbead with cheddar cheese and broccoli sometimes,

                                                                                          1. re: vafarmwife
                                                                                            f
                                                                                            fourunder Dec 19, 2010 05:20 AM

                                                                                            I follow the Jiffy directions on the box......greased skillet and baked in the oven. No sugar added, but I like to chop Jalapeno peppers for a little heat and variety.

                                                                                            1. re: fourunder
                                                                                              g
                                                                                              gordeaux Dec 19, 2010 05:48 AM

                                                                                              The little Jiffy boxes have plenty of sugar iirc. They may make them different by region. I'm in Illinois, and they are definitely sweet cornbread here.

                                                                                              So, for a reply to the op, I like both, but I definitely grew up with and prefer savory cornbread. Most of mt family hails from Mississippi. I do vividly remember the first time I had a sweet cornbread, and I'm pretty sure it was made using the little Jiffy boxes. I was mildly shocked.

                                                                                              1. re: gordeaux
                                                                                                v
                                                                                                vafarmwife Dec 19, 2010 05:55 AM

                                                                                                I agree with the Jiffy mix- it's 90% sugar and 10% cornmeal. But if sweet cornbread is what turns you on then hey who I am to say it[s wrong. I'm sure I eat some things that some people would turn their nose up about. In fact I know it as I have been told that on this board more than once.

                                                                                                ETA- FOR THOSE WITH NO SENSE OF HUMOR I AM JOKING ABOUT THE PERCENTAGES ABOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                1. re: vafarmwife
                                                                                                  f
                                                                                                  fourunder Dec 19, 2010 06:17 AM

                                                                                                  you may not like the product, but there's no reason to provide false information. according to the ingredients list sugar is the third item listed, so your belief and comments are simply wrong.

                                                                                                  http://www.jiffymix.com/product.php/1...

                                                                                                2. re: gordeaux
                                                                                                  iL Divo Dec 19, 2010 06:37 AM

                                                                                                  I agree with you. I love a sweet version with certain meals, it's a sweet when otherwise there isn't one. I also love a very savory to tie the meal together.

                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                    EWSflash Dec 19, 2010 03:39 PM

                                                                                                    Yep, I like them both too. I discovered some pastries in Nogales, Mexico that were shaped like a wide, fairly flat cupcake, and they were sweet and wonderful and savory at the same time, and I love them so much I always buy them when I can get to a panaderia here- distinctly cornmeal or corn flour tasting, but with a lovely sweetness. That's for dessert. Either way, when I make cornbread in a cast iron skillet with a bunch of bacon fat as the pan grease, I get way more compliments when I make a sweet cornbread than not. I love the totally savory cornbread, too.

                                                                                              2. re: vafarmwife
                                                                                                mamachef Dec 19, 2010 02:37 PM

                                                                                                Tis' the sour cream that makes it psuedoRussian, vafarmwife.

                                                                                              3. re: breadfan
                                                                                                f
                                                                                                feelinpeckish Dec 20, 2010 05:10 AM

                                                                                                re:breadfan
                                                                                                Now, johnny cakes sound familiar. That is what my mother called them and they were not sweet, just fantastic. I'll have to try to duplicate them but don't hold much hope as I am new to cooking on my own. Wish me luck.

                                                                                              4. v
                                                                                                vafarmwife Dec 19, 2010 01:00 AM

                                                                                                Well to me putting sugar in your cornbread is like putting ketchup on steak. I haven't heard the term "lightbread" in years since my grandmother passed.

                                                                                                I make my cornbread in an iron skillet using Tenda-Bake yellow cornmeal and buttermilk.

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: vafarmwife
                                                                                                  iL Divo Dec 19, 2010 06:35 AM

                                                                                                  if I begged would you post the recipe please? sounds wonderful and I have a 123 year old cast iron that is waiting to give it a try, thanks

                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                    v
                                                                                                    vafarmwife Dec 19, 2010 06:48 AM

                                                                                                    Sure it ain't no secret...

                                                                                                    Heat oven to 450- put a big tablespoon or two of bacon grease or Crisco in cast iron skillet. Wait until oven reaches 450 to put skillet in to melt grease or shortening. Get skillet really hot in oven.

                                                                                                    In one bowl combine the following:
                                                                                                    1 cup yellow Tenda Bake cornmeal
                                                                                                    1/2 cup all purpose flour- I like Southern Biscuit brand flour-
                                                                                                    1 teaspoon salt

                                                                                                    In separate bowl combine the following:
                                                                                                    1 cup buttermilk
                                                                                                    1/2 cup milk
                                                                                                    1 egg
                                                                                                    1 tablespoon baking powder
                                                                                                    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                                    1/4 cup melted shortening or bacon grease

                                                                                                    Mix liquids and then add dry ingredients. Don't overmix- mix until just blended. Batter will be lumpy. Pour into smoking hot skillet (you know your skillet is hot enough when you pour in the batter and it sizzles) and bake for 20-25 minutes until brown. Let cool slightly in skillet and then turn out. You know your skillet is well seasoned when cornbread slides out and the middle of the cornbread isn't left in the skillet. Don't wash the skillet- just wipe it out with a paper towel. Also don't use your cornbread skillet for anything else.

                                                                                                    1. re: vafarmwife
                                                                                                      iL Divo Dec 19, 2010 07:10 AM

                                                                                                      well with my lamb roast tonight, I'm making this.........
                                                                                                      thank you very much...........
                                                                                                      I gotta go to market after church anyway, so I'll pick up some buttermilk.
                                                                                                      walmarchay, here come.........

                                                                                                      1. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                        v
                                                                                                        vafarmwife Dec 19, 2010 07:12 AM

                                                                                                        Well if you don't hvae buttermilk, you can sour sweet milk with vinegar or lemon juice.

                                                                                                    2. re: iL Divo
                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                      jseydler Jul 23, 2012 02:23 AM

                                                                                                      My cornbread recipe and a brief history.

                                                                                                      At the turn from the 19th to the 20th century, my grandmother was born on a farm in a southern state while it was still a territory. Many years later, my sister and her two brothers, were all born over a time spanning the early to late fifties.

                                                                                                      Our grandmother occasionally served a somewhat dry cornbread that contained no sugar other than that naturally occurring in the corn. It was one of my favorite things in life to eat it hot, right out of the oven with as much extra butter as I could sneak without my parents or grandmother noticing.

                                                                                                      Years later, in the late eighty's, a friend took out his cast iron skillet from the cupboard and cooked up a package of (I think it was unsweetened) Jiffy cornbread mix which was a reasonable facsimile of that which my grandmother once prepared.

                                                                                                      This started a chain of events that eventually led to me entering a 4th of July Jalapeno Cornbread cook-off, two years in a row.

                                                                                                      The first year my Jalapeno Cornbread got honorable mention. The first and second place prizes went to dishes that both contained meat in their recipe. I figure they should have been disqualified for being casseroles.

                                                                                                      As for the second year: Though I am extremely honored to have been awarded the second place ribbon, I have every confidence that I very likely should have won first place. Don't we all think that? Allas, the first place prize was given to the chef which was employed by the Hotel on who's property the event was held, OK, maybe the contest wasn't rigged. There is no question though, that the judges (and possibly the chef) really enjoyed my Jalapeno Cornbread. (Grin) I've recently been told by my estranged wife that she'd pay me to make her a batch. (Grin again)

                                                                                                      Though I have a couple secret ingredients (neither sugar nor any other kind of flour are a part of it) My basic recipe is from the package of the "Morrison's Premium Stone Ground Corn Meal" from Morrison Mills (in Denton, Texas I think). I haven't purchased their brand for awhile so I don't know if it's still available but I bought it through HEB grocers here in the DFW area.

                                                                                                      Here's the basic recipe with my spin on it:
                                                                                                      2 cups High quality (Organic) Premium Stone Ground Corn Meal
                                                                                                      2 eggs beaten
                                                                                                      2 cups buttermilk (I prefer cultured buttermilk)
                                                                                                      1 teaspoon (Himalayan sea) salt
                                                                                                      1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                                      2 teaspoons baking powder
                                                                                                      2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I prefer a high quality, virgin, "first pressed" Olive Oil). Never use hydrogenated oils or canola oil.

                                                                                                      1. Preheat oven to 425°F (and place a #7 or #8 cast iron skillet or 2 cast iron muffin pans in the oven to preheat as well) Do NOT grease them at this time.

                                                                                                      2. Mix together eggs, buttermilk and oil in medium size mixing bowl. Don't over-mix.

                                                                                                      3. in a separate (larger) bowl, combine dry ingredients, Include any other ingredients such as jalapenos or corn, etc. Quantities to your taste and feel free to experiment with other ingredients from the garden. That's half the fun of creating a great dish!

                                                                                                      4. Then pour the liquid mixture over the dry mixture and mix with a LARGE wire whisk. But again, do not over-mix. Do be sure all dry ingredients are scraped off the bottom and sides.

                                                                                                      5. Remove preheated cast iron skillet or cast iron muffin pans from oven and quickly spray a liberal amount of cooking spray in to the pan(s) then pour in the batter. Be sure not to overfill the muffin cups (about 1/8 to 1/4 below the top. They should rise.

                                                                                                      6. Bake at 425°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until done.

                                                                                                      Should be enjoyed with good creamery butter and nothing else (IMOHO). I predict that nothing will be left after 30 minutes but if there ARE leftovers I cover it with a thin dishcloth to be enjoyed the next day. Can also be frozen but why would you want to? Just eat it!

                                                                                                      Bon appetite!

                                                                                                      *

                                                                                                      1. re: jseydler
                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                        jseydler Jul 23, 2012 03:33 PM

                                                                                                        I forgot to add that my cornbread is never dry. I believe it's because of the buttermilk and the coarse ground cornmeal. I like it way better than my grandmother's version.
                                                                                                        P.S. I've attached a picture of the recipe from the original bag Morrison’s Premium Stone Ground Corn Meal. However, the cornmeal I now buy comes from certified organic, non GMO corn.

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                  Show Hidden Posts