The Fresh Loaf

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Fantastic Cornbread

flournwater's picture

Fantastic Cornbread

I have never liked sweet cornbread.  I can't remember ever, until now, having eaten a sweet cornbread that tasted good enough for me to want another piece.  This morning I finished the BBA Challenge assignment for Peter Reinhart's cornbread as published in "The Bread Bakers Apprentice".  It's incredible, in spite of the fact that it calls for granulated sugar, brown sugar and honey.

The full recipe was far too large for our needs so I reduced it by half.  That was fairly easy, until I came to dividing 3 eggs, but using one whole egg and one egg yolk solved that problem.  Baked in an 8 inch (rim to rim measurement) cast iron pan.

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xaipete's picture

Looks good, Flournwater. I've looked at PR's recipe a number of times and wondered if it would be good. Now I know. Thanks for posting.


Paddyscake's picture

in our house! We always have this at Easter with our ham. This is the best, no doubt about it! I think it's the corn kernals that send it over the edge for me. Try sauteing the corn with a bit of olive oil until they start to carmelize. Mmmm-mmm


althetrainer's picture

and yours looks delicious!

ehanner's picture


Recipes are not copyrighted in the US. You can post the recipe as long as you note the source and any mods you did to the recipe.

If you look in the search data for cornbread, there are many good recipes right at your finger tips.


serifm's picture

I made the cornbread and wound up feeding it to the birds, as we didn't like it. I found it to be gummy and in no way comparable to my grandmother's recipe, which I have made for 50 years. Her recipe is consistently moist and tender. While I hadn't thought of adding bacon to her recipe I have added corn, cheese and a can of diced green peppers to make a Mexican cornbread. I have added a dollop of yogurt as well.

Perhaps this is heresy, but I have reservations about some of Mr. Reinhart's recipes. I made his buttermilk white bread and, again, it wound up as food for the birds. His recipe for basic French bread is good - - but so is Julia Child's. I've learned a great deal from his book, but I find myself going back to Baking with Julia  Maybe it's just me.


flournwater's picture

I'm sorry about your disappointment with PR's cornbread.  I don't understand how it turned out "gummy" because mine was light, fluffy, tender with a relatively open crumb and nice rise.  If you checked the internal temperature for reaching more than 185 degrees (I took mine to 192) as the recipe suggests and it was still gummy I am truly at a loss to try and explain what happened.  But I understand about your grandmother's cornbread.  I too have an old family recipe for cornbread, another variety of course, and like you I sometimes modify it to include things like green chili peppers, corn, bacon, cumin, garlic, and other savory ingredients.  But never sugar or honey.

Because I have never found a sweet cornbread I could tolerate, I was excited to find how much I truly enjoyed PR's recipe.  It's a little convoluted with many more individual steps than any other cornbread recipe I've ever used but it was well worth the extra effort because I am now a fan of at least one sweet flavored cornbread.  I like the suggeston re: browning the corn kernels before introducing them to the batter.  I think I'll ltry that next time, along with some chopped mild red chilis to see how the chilis influence the sweetness.

Not all of my experiences with Peter Reinhart's recipes have been out of the box successes.  I've experienced initial failures with two of the last ten of his recipes I've tried.  But with each disappointment, after I carefully re-analyzed what I had done I found I had made some minor errors either in weighing ingredients, in the handling of ingredients (timing, temperature, fermentation, hydration) or the point at which a specific ingredient was supposed to be introduced to the recipe.  Preparing the same recipe a second time usually produced a better result.

xaipete's picture

Apparently there are two widely different taste zones for cornbread. As I understand it, Northern cornbread is sweeter and fluffier, while Southern cornbread is not sweet and drier.

It sounds like which you prefer my be kind of 'genetic'.


smaxson's picture

Prior to the 1960's southern cornbread would have been made with white corn and had a better flavor, but they bred better flavor into northern yellow corn and the cornmeal hasn't made much difference since the mid-1960's. I have never used home ground cornmeal, so cannot say I have made any definitive test on freshness of the cornmeal (I have a Nutrimill and haven't tried ground popcorn yet). Now corn of every color is grown everywhere.

Traditional southern recipes were usually a thinner cornbread than northern recipes, in addition to being a bit simpler since they naturally had a better tasting cornmeal to use. Bernard Clayton's Southern Corn Bread (from Breads) is the best I have ever eaten--just (white) cornmeal, eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and salt. Made thin in a large preheated skillet, it is to die for! I used to have a similar recipe 40 years ago off of the white cornmeal box that was loaded with bacon drippings and may have been even better, but the Clayton recipe is the best I can attest to.

beeman1's picture

I use the country living mill. I prefer popcorn for corn bread. It seems to be sweeter. I use the dent corn for tortillas.