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cornbread rescue

I made a large skillet cornbread that didn't exactly work out--it's rather dry, and it seems that some of the corn meal isn't even hydrated. (Why? Perhaps too low moisture from using Greek yogurt, but also I didn't give it full mixing, because my butter was burning in the skillet already...)

Anyway, what are some ways to salvage such cornbread? It's not quite right as is. A little gritty.

I've heard of cornbread stuffing but never made it. I suppose some moist recooking techniques might hydrate it okay. Or?

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  1. Don't know if stuffing would deal with that grittiness. What about crumbling it into a hot bowl of soupy chili--the bread would hydrate, the chili thicken--cheddar on top would not be a bad idea.

    1. I like Escondido's idea. You could also crumble it into a lovely bowl of pinto or black beans. Grated cheese would be wonderful. If you wanted to go "country" you could crumble some of it into a glass of buttermilk or milk, and eat with a spoon.

      Just a tip here (disregard if you already know this): you mix most cornbread with a few quick strokes, as in mixing muffins. I always add the melted butter to the batter. I don't mix it in the skillet. (I think from what you wrote that might be what you did. No?) I've used yogurt in cornbread, instead of buttermilk, but you need to thin the yogurt with milk. I'd want it the thickness of regular buttermilk, I think. Be sure to bake another batch right away!

      1 Reply
      1. re: sueatmo

        Thanks for the ideas, everyone. In response to this matter of butter in the batter or the pan: yes, I was following a recipe that listed several kinds of fats as options, and the instructions were to get whichever fat "good and hot" in the skillet. I really knew better than to treat butter the same os one might treat other fats, but somehow, I just followed the directions, instead. Brain temporarily shut off.

        As it happens, I made the cornbread to accompany a chili, so mixing some of that into the chili is one easy option.

      2. Freeze it and use later with beans and ham, soup or chili- crumble the corn bread on the bottom of the bowl and pour - beans -chili or soup over it. Add any season if needed and top with some grated cheese. I think it would work fine.

        1. On threads about southern style cornbread, someone always claims they (or their father) liked to crumble cold cornbread in a glass of buttermilk.

          What cornmeal did you use? This doesn't help with rescuing the current batch, but it is worth keeping mind that the coarseness of the cornmeal strongly determines the texture of the cornbread. Too fine and you might not even notice it (especially if used along with flour). Too coarse, and the grit might be objectionable. Some where in the middle there's a pleasant texture.

          Presoaking the cornmeal can help hydrate it before baking. You could use the milk or butter milk, or even boiling water. A wetter, longer baking batter will also help soften coarser meal - such as a spoon bread.

          1 Reply
          1. re: paulj

            When I used to bake cornbead with Hodgson Mill's stone ground yellow cornmeal, I sifted out the coarsest gritty material first. I found that brand of meal quite coarse. I've used other stone ground meal that wasn't so gritty. I note that Bob's Red Mill stone ground has a finer texture. I never soaked my meal--I've made a LOT of cornbread. Because the stone ground meal tends to have a bitter back taste, I like to add a tablespoon of sugar to the batter. I rediscovered recently how wonderful buttermilk or thinned yogurt cornbread is. I recommend using a recipe for this, and I don't think the texture of stone ground will be objectionable.

            1. It's been a while since I made cornbread, but I suggest that you mix all the ingredients well before starting to melt butter in a skillet. Also I mix masa harina with stone ground cornmeal to get a less gritty result. Masa harina is a fine grind of cornmeal. I have used a ratio of 2:1 of the stone ground to the masa harina. Maybe next time you will get the cornbread that you desire. Yogurt is not an ingredient in the cornbread that I bake.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ChiliDude

                I often use yogurt when I don't have buttermilk, but greek yogurt has not enough moisture, so that was no doubt contributory. More mixing isn't wise as cornbread likes minimal mixing as long as there is enough liquid. I like the masa idea though I just use regular fine ground cornmeal as part of the mix, or white corn meal.

                1. re: magiesmom

                  As I mentioned it has been a long time since I made bread. I was mistaken about using masa harina for it, but I use that blend when I make polenta. The recipe that I used in the past is published in Texas Home Cooking by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Buttermilk is one of the ingredients. I still say mix all the ingredients, without beating the hell out of them, before starting to heat the oil.

                2. re: ChiliDude

                  i never have buttermilk so always use yogurt instead. but yes, you need to thin it some with water.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Actually, I used about half Greek yogurt mixed with some sour cream and then the other half was milk (just drawing on what I had around).

                    To be sure, the batter should have been better mixed and wetter. The recipe was from Bittman's "How to Cook Everything," by the way.