Mmmm, It's Gummy Gluten Free Cornbread!
So ... I've repeatedly tried to make gluten free cornbread, using a number of recipes from the web.
I even threw some frozen corn kernels in to one recipe. Not good. (I should say I have had success with GF cooking and GF baking - in particular, brownies).
My problem is that the cornbread usually comes out too gummy / thick / not fluffy. How can I make fluffier GF cornbread? Any success out there?
Really good corn bread does not require wheat flour or sugar in it. The recipe is very simple. Put a cast iron skillet in an oven at 375 F. Place about 3 Tbs. bacon drippings, lard or an oil that can take high heat without burning. While pan and fat are heating mix together 1 1/2-2 C. stone ground cornmeal, 1 C. buttermilk, 1/2 tsp baking soda, salt and 1 beaten egg. When the pan is smoking hot pour in the batter, it should sizzle and fry as it hits the fat. Bake at 375 F. until golden brown. Good corn bread does not need flour or sugar. Bacon bits or pork cracklings are a good addition. Have a lot of top quality butter on hand.
It is the cornbread I grew up on. Leftovers were crumbled into a tall glass and topped with cold buttermilk and eaten with an iced teaspoon. We never ever put sugar in cornbread either. As the old saying goes, "if I wanted cake I would have ordered it.
If you can get or order Indian Head, or Anson Mills cornmeal you are in for a real treat.
I think there are two approaches to a GF Cornbread:
- traditional Southern all-corn cornbread
- a modern GF baking mix used in place of flour in a northern style.
The Southern style is not going to be 'fluffy'; it is better baked in a thin layer, so there is plenty of crust. That crust comes from baking it in a preheated skillet, with plenty of (bacon) fat.
If you want something more cake like (sweet, fluffy), look at the GF baking mix. Those contain of mix of GF starches (corn, rice, etc), and gluten substitutes (generally gells).
As noted, a gluten free cornbread is not a cake-y Northern style cornbread.
-Cornmeal-only southern style cornbread
-Jonnycakes (RI cornmeal griddle cakes - there's a thick style and a thin style, and the latter -produces what might be called American corn crepettes. mmm.)
Assuming you are using non-wheat starches you might want to check your blend. If it is too high is tapioca starch or sweet rice flour, or has too much gums in it, it can make a gummy texture. Just like you have to be careful not to overmix wheat flour so you don't develop glutens, you have to be careful that you don't include too many of the substances that make gluten free blends mimic wheat flour. They are generally activated by liquid rather than . I always just use the recipe for buttermilk corn bread from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, but it is a standard recipe, and sub in a gluten free cake flour blend for the wheat flour. My blend varies, but is often 1/3 rice or millet, scant 1/2 cornstarch or potato (potato makes bigger crumb) and rest in tapioca starch. I don't add xanthan necessarily to cakes if they have enough egg, but you can add up to 1 t per cup for cake to help avoid over crumbly results.
Cornbread is one of the easiest to do GF - that is why there are so many mixes available. Now if I could just find a bread recipe that we love - and yes I have tried them all and developed several. My son has been celiac since 2, and just recently at 10 decided that gluten free bread is either too moist and gummy, or to dry. He's right but I thought since he doesn't remember wheat bread he would never figure that out.