The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Buttermilk Cornbread Collapse

nfchapman's picture

Buttermilk Cornbread Collapse

I've tried to make buttermilk cornbread twice recently, both times the bread rose nicely, then collapsed.  The first time I thought that it was due to a bump it took in the oven from repositioning.  The second time it was undisturbed, with the same collapsing result.  

My regular cornbread recipe turns out big and fluffy.  The recipe I used is simply adapted from the my regular recipe, with the substitution of the buttermilk, addition of 1/2 t baking soda, and a teaspoon less baking powder (2 t in recipe, down from 3).  Like I said, initially the bread rose normally, but simply didn't ever set, rather collapsing, leaving dense and gooey (although great tasting) bread.

Here's the recipe I used.  

1 1/4 c cornmeal

1 c APF

2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 1/4 t salt

3 T sugar

4 T melted butter

2 eggs

1 1/4 or so c buttermilk

Poured into smoking hot cast iron, baked at 410 (convection oven) for about 20 minutes.  

Any suggestions on what would cause the bread to collapse like described?  What should I try differently?  

Antilope's picture

But I use a digital probe thermometer to tell when my cornbread is done. You want to bake until the center, internal temperature reaches at least 190-F, or at least until a toothpick, inserted into the center comes out clean. Don't just take out the cornbread after a certain baking time, make sure it's done in the middle. Under-baking can cause the center to collapse.

Here's my recipe adapted from the Albers Cornmeal website:

Cornbread for Cast Iron Skillet

For 10 inch Cast Iron Skillet

1 1/4 cups Yellow Corn Meal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 to 7 Tbsp corn oil
1 large egg, or 1/3 cup eggbeaters lightly beaten

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Grease 10-inch skillet and place in oven
while pre-heating.

COMBINE cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl, mix well.

Combine milk, oil and egg in small bowl; mix well.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Pour into prepared pan.

BAKE for about 25 minutes (until center internal temperature reaches at least 190-F) or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

You might try decreasing the leavening a bit.  Buttermilk tenderizes the batter and it might be too much leavening to hold it all together.

Antilope's picture

than the original poster, in a similar recipe, and mine has never collapsed.

Nickisafoodie's picture

you may find this link interesting, a long thread but worthwhile. 

Bottom line: mix all the night before, refrigerate, then put into your pan (or muffin tins).  I always let mine rest at least an hour before going in the oven so all the liquids can be absorbed to make the cornbread soft with a high rise.  Great result, but overnight turns out even better.  That may help you get the perfect result...

Antilope's picture

overnight to achieve high domed, higher rising muffins.

nfchapman's picture

That sounds like a great suggestion for flavor development and texture.  I'll be sure to try it.  I do the same with waffle batter and it is fantastic (though it makes quick breads not so quick). :)

Antilope's picture

at The Fresh Loaf. Use Argo Baking powder. In tests on a thread here, it was higher rising. Also, it doesn't add a metallic taste to quick breads, because it doesn't contain aluminum. I found Argo Baking powder at Sam's Club.

Baking Powder (tests)

nfchapman's picture

Thanks for the suggestion.  One of the reasons I am not the biggest fan sometimes of quick breads is the taste the BP imparts.  I've not ever seen it in my local grocery stores, but have seen it at Sam's.  I couldn't ever imagine needing such a large quantity so I didn't consider purchasing it.  I'll give Argo a try now.  

Antilope's picture

in the freezer. It has a longer shelf life stored that way.

charbono's picture

matches that of Bob's Red Mill.'s picture

The addition of thyme to a cornbread recipe may help to get rid of the baking powder taste, and help to give the bread an earthy, rustic flavor.  Here is a recipe for thyme cornbread:

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  3. 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 3/4 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear, do not substitute frozen)
  9. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  10. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  11. Cooking spray

For full directions see

baybakin's picture

The "Trader Joe's" brand baking powder also does not contain aluminum, I'm not sure who makes it for them (they are pretty secretive about this sort of thing, much like how their AP flour is from Central Milling)