Monday, September 28, 2009
Cornbread recipes are as controversial as pinto bean or chili recipes, and everyone has their own way of doing them. My recipes are just good ole basic recipes, and can be tweaked to your personal taste in all sorts of ways.
1 cup whole grain cornmeal
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (I prefer white whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. baking powder big pinch of baking soda (about ¼ tsp.)
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. salt (depends on the kind of salt, and your taste buds)
1 stick unsalted butter that has been melted and allowed to cool (or ½ cup ghee*)
1 ¼ cups milk (don’t add it all at once; some days it takes less to make the batter and some days it takes more)
1 large egg (I’m using a duck egg, because I have them.)
Sugar is optional; I think it depends on where you were raised!
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and put in the oiled cast iron skillet to heat. (Because I’m a butter freak, I use nearly a Tbs. of butter in the skillet. The butter can easily brown too much or even burn, so I add it just a minute ot two before I’m ready to take the heated pan out of the oven and add the batter.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. If you only have regular de-germed corn meal, you can add some drained corn kernels to help round out the protein; plus, they add more texture.
In another bowl, beat together the milk and the egg until well light and frothy, then whisk in the butter. Dump this all at once into the dry mix and stir gently until everything is just moistened. DO NOT OVER-MIX.
Take the hot iron skillet out of the oven, dump the batter in and spread gently to even it out. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick or table knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Baking time will vary with altitude and humidity. If you have added corn kernels, the baking time may be a bit longer.
Remove pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before cutting. You may choose to turn the pan upside down over a plate to remove the cornbread; when I do this, I put a second plate atop the turned-out cornbread and invert it again so the top is facing up. The presentation is much nicer!
*Ghee is clarified butter; once clarified, it will keep for a very long time in a jar on the shelf without becoming rancid.