Homemade Cornbread

Cornbread

We’ve almost always grown our own corn. Most of the time sweet corn, and sometimes field corn. The sweet corn is what we eat exclusively now, as it needs almost no seasoning. Field corn needs plenty of seasoning to taste as good to us, but it is best for corn meal since its dryed kernels are better suited for milling. We had our own meal made from our field corn for a while, and the cornbread made from it was by far the best tasting I have ever had. If you use cornmeal that has been milled in this manner, you do need to use about one third flour to the amount of meal you use and you can double the baking powder called for so that the batter will be light enough to rise well. This is my recipe based on Mamaw Chandler’s recipe. We like cornbread with our soup, chili, and other such dishes.

Since this recipe calls for boiling water you need to use a glass or metal bowl and measuring cup for the hot water, NOT plastic.

1 1/2 cup yellow corn meal

1/4 cup all purpose flour (if stone ground, use 1/2 cup flour)

1/3 – 1/2 cup boiling water

1 cups milk (may also use buttermilk)

2 eggs

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup cooking oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.You will need a large (10″) cast iron skillet for this recipe. I don’t recommend stainless steel or other metal for this. (Just my preference) Before you start mixing ingredients, pour enough oil into skillet to cover the bottom well with enough to pour off later and still have enough left in the skillet to keep the bread from sticking; about 1/2 cup. While the pan and oil are still cool spoon some of the oil onto the insides of the skillet so that the sides are also well oiled. Heat the oil in the skillet in oven, or on top of the stove over low heat. While this is heating, mix corn meal and flour. (DO NOT mix other dry ingredients at this time.) Gently pour small stream or trickle of boiling water into mixture, and mix it in lightly with a fork until meal mixture is damp or crumbly, but not wet. Fluff this mixture until some of the heat is gone and stir the milk in before you add the eggs so that they do not cook when you add them; then add the eggs. When you have completely incorporated the eggs, you may add the baking powder, soda, and salt and mix well (adding this when the mixture is still hot will activate the baking powder and soda before it is time). At this point pour some of the hot oil into the cornbread batter and mix it in well being careful not to slosh it. Next our family takes some of the dry corn meal and sprinkles it liberally on the bottom and sides inside of the skillet, and allow it to brown slightly. Turn the burner off soon just as the meal is beginning to turn light golden. Then pour batter into the pan. Bake in 425 degree oven for about 25 or so minutes. When it is firm in the center and beginning to turn light brown on top the bread is ready to turn out onto a heat resistant plate. If you like a more brown bottom crust, you may take the skillet out of the oven and place under the broiler if you have a gas stove as I do.

NOTE: This recipe can be halved and cooked in an 8″ iron skillet, and cook for a few minutes less; 20 minutes or so. You can also make cornbread muffins or sticks. Again cast iron always works best in my opinion. It is all my family and I will use for cornbread. In my Mamaw Holley’s later years she had a stroke. When she was able to cook again she changed to an 8″ square pan for cornbread since she could handle it better with her strong hand and arm. (She was determined to still cook.) The cornbread was still very good, but just didn’t have that crust that an iron skillet produces. It’s really up to one’s personal preference.

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