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kayb

Cornbread

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So's not to clutter up the dinner thread, and since I didn't see a topic for cornbread (leftover cornbread, yes, but not just plain ol' cornbread), I'm starting one.

 

  22 hours ago, kayb said:

 

Girl. We have to teach you how to make cornbread dressing. Do you do cornbread?

 

 

I'm an English girl living in semi outback Australia whose only 'American Experience' was Disney Land Florida circa 2001. I do not Cornbread. Teach me your ways.

 

Edit to Add: I know there will be a thread or 6, off to find..

===========================================================================

 

Well. Off we go to the cornbread races.

 

If they have such a creature as cornbread mix in Australia, get you some. It's a combo of corn meal and flour, and if it's self-rising, it has baking powder and/or soda in it. I usually use Martha White self-rising corn meal mix, but I realize such may not be available to you, and making up your own is easy enough:

 

2 cups cornmeal (white or yellow, as you prefer, or whichever is available; I can tell little, if any, difference in the taste)

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup bacon grease (preferred; vegetable oil or melted butter will work, if you must), plus extra for skillet

About 1 1/2 cup milk (I never measure; I pour and stir until it's "right," so this is a guess)

1/2 - 1 tsp salt (depending on your taste for salt and how salty your bacon grease is)

 

Put a tablespoon or two of bacon grease  oil into an iron skillet and put it in a 400-degree F oven before you start. You want a hot skillet so you'll get a good crust on the bottom and sides of the cornbread.

 

Whisk the dry ingredients together. Beat the eggs in with the milk, and pour into the dry stuff. Add the bacon grease or oil, and stir it all up together until well blended. You want a batter slightly thicker than a cake batter. Pour it into the hot skillet, and then bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden.

 

Cut in wedges and eat with LOTS of butter.

 

That's cornbread. Depending on the part of the US you're from, you may put sugar in your cornbread. I, personally, think sweet cornbread is an abomination.

 

Cornbread is often served with pork products, soups and stews,  chili, sauteed vegetables, and the like. The rule of thumb is that when you're having mashed potatoes or breakfast, you should have biscuits; any other time, cornbread is acceptable.  Of course, the highest and best use of cornbread is crumbled up into a bowl of navy beans or pinto beans cooked with ham.

 

It's also good to make it just a bit thinner, and cook it in a waffle iron. You may want to let it cycle twice, to get a good crispy crust.

 

Then: Cornbread dressing, the PROPER dressing to serve with chicken or turkey.

 

Take an 8-inch skillet of cornbread, crumble it into small pieces, and let it sit on the counter and get stale for an hour or so. Then mix it with a couple of cups of chicken broth, some salt, lots of black pepper, sage, and two beaten eggs. I find a potato masher is good to break up the larger chunks. Again, you want it fairly "soupy." Pour it into a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake at 350F for an hour. You can also put chopped, sauteed onion and chopped up celery in it if you prefer; I prefer it without. It's also not unusual to find it with shredded boiled chicken cooked into it. Typically served with a cranberry relish on the side, and some gravy.

 

Some folks use a combo of white sandwich bread and cornbread, in up to about a 50-50 ratio. It's super important the white bread be very stale, so it will crumble. I prefer all cornbread, but I've made it with a 3:1 ratio of cornbread to white bread. Consistency is perhaps a little better.

 

Anxious to hear others' take on cornbread.

 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Posted (edited)

I like a little sugar in the cornbread. What I despise is corn bread with a cake like texture that stems from using too much flour. Cornbread ought to be a little crumbly. 

 

I may add pickled jalapeño. 

 

I’ll make it in a cast iron skillet or, more often, a madelaine pan which makes serving easy and maximizes the browned surface

 


Edited by gfweb (log)
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We normally use 1 of these: Lodge L8CB3 Cast Iron Cornbread Wedge Pan, Pre-Seasoned

...lots of surfaces for the darkened texture.

 

If we are in a hurry we 1 of these: Proctor Silex 25408Y Sandwich Toaster

it makes it very quick and again you get lots of good surfaces.

 

I do agree that having a little sugar in the mix at least in our opinion makes for better cornbread.

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I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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The current recipe

 

3/4 cup flour

1 1/4 cup yellow corn meal

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 cup peanut oil

1 beaten egg

2tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt ....or more

pickled diced jalapeño ad libitum 

 

 

cook at 400 f. Time depends on the vessel...madelaine pan is 13 min....8x10 baking dish is 25 min. .. cast iron pan preheated is 20 min usually

 

 

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Mine is close to that

11/4 corn meal

1/2 cup flour

2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

up to 1 cup milk

2 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix to consistency of thick batter. (depending on egg size just reduce milk to get the right thickness)

I put into into silicon muffin molds and cook till lightly brown (~200C ~25mins?)

 

Usually i add chopped capsicum (bell peppers?) and chopped diced Jalapeno (pickled from Costco)

 

In Australia its hard to get corn meal (or corn bread mix) so I just use Polenta. Most health food shops have it along with mainstream supermarkets in their health food section.

From what I glean corn meal is a lot courser than Polenta but its almost the same thing, though it may not have any husk in the mix.

I drop the sugar depending what I am having it with (usually smoked pork spare ribs in BBQ sauce).

 

I suspect the Polenta makes it a little too dense and the first I made the crust (from a metal pan) didn't marry with the rather denser texture.

The silicon still gives a crust but its not as thick. The crust is also a lot smoother but that may be ratio of dried to oil.

 

Probably worth trying with whole meal flour to get a better, rougher texture, then go back to metal to get a better crust.

 

Probably sacrilege but it may well be nice with shredded cheese added to the tops halfway through the cooking

 

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I love to add shredded cheese, and leftover corn (sorry, @liuzhou!) to the batter. 

 

I do have a cast-iron pan that's sort of like a madelaine pan that I use from time to time. The wells are elongated, and finished so that the cornbread is shaped like an ear of corn.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, kayb said:

 (sorry, @liuzhou!)

 

I was perplexed as to why I was being mentioned on such a disgusting, depraved topic! But, I will hesitatingly accept your apology. I had a good day! Next time you may not be so lucky!

 

😀


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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9 hours ago, Bernie said:

I

From what I glean corn meal is a lot courser than Polenta but its almost the same thing, though it may not have any husk in the mix.

 

Corn meal is actually the finer of the two.   

 

What would happen if you blitzed polenta in a blender for a minute?     Not corn meal, but perhaps a mix of coarse and fine meal.  


eGullet member #80.

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I've used corn meal in place of polenta. I would suspect you could blitz polenta in a blender or food processor and it would make decent cornmeal. Or use it as it is.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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We only have Polenta in Oz and I have often thought of giving it a blitz to get it a little finer.

This is my cornbread recipe and love it. The family doesn't so much so I'll be looking at some of your choices.

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Around here polenta comes in all sorts of different grinds.  For my polenta I use white corn meal, as it is said they prefer in Venice.  But I am not a cornbread person so carry on.

 

 

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There are discussions in other threads about the difference between polenta and grits. Both are cornmeal, which can be ground coarse, medium or fine for a different texture. In my experience the Italians usually prefer polenta ground more finely than Southerners like their grits, which is often toothier. The main difference though is that grits and polenta have traditionally been made from different types of corn: dent corn vs flint corn. To further complicate the issue is nixtamalization, a process used in the Americas. Grits can be made from hominy, which is nixtamalized corn, but I have no idea how common that is.

 

There is so much conflicting information and misinformation about the various types of corn, their origins and how they are used that it makes your head spin. Anyone wishing to learn more should do the research themselves. There are six types of corn and the things that can be done with them is, to put it mildly, complicated. When it comes to color, as far as I can determine both dent and flint corn can be white or yellow. I buy my grits from Geechie Boy Mill on Edisto Island. I prefer white, and my husband prefers yellow. They do taste a little different, but they are the same type of corn, and both make me happy. They now sell specialty color grits--red and blue. I've never tried them because they cost substantially more. During the late sixties and early seventies I lived in New Mexico and blue corn was commonly used for griddle cakes, tortillas and other things. My memory is that it was typically ground finer than you might want for grits. 

 

Personally I prefer grits to polenta; most grits sold by artisanal operations in the south are on the coarser side and, to me, have a more "corny" taste. When you buy stone ground grits grown from local corn it will probably be fresher than any boxed Italian sourced polenta, but it's been so long since I actually bought polenta I could be off base here. For cornbread I like a medium grind corn, so it has a bit of a bite to it. Bob's Red Mill medium grind cornmeal is my go-to for breads and pancakes. I love cakes that have cornmeal as a percentage of the flour. If a recipe calls something Polenta Cake I just use that same Bob's medium grind cornmeal, but that toothy quality might not be to everyone's taste. However, if you like the taste of a certain coarse ground cornmeal but want it finer you can always grind it down a bit yourself.

 

Not to disparage anyone here on eG, where help is so readily and generously given, but again, when it comes to corn be suspicious of all information. Mine included! 

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1 hour ago, Katie Meadow said:

 

Not to disparage anyone here on eG, where help is so readily and generously given, but again, when it comes to corn be suspicious of all information. Mine included! 

 

Adding to the confusion are the regional differences in corn bread.    Yankee vs southern, for instance.     Savory vs sweet.    Muffin vs cake texture.    And then there are the myriad international takes...

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6 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

 

Adding to the confusion are the regional differences in corn bread.    Yankee vs southern, for instance.     Savory vs sweet.    Muffin vs cake texture.    And then there are the myriad international takes...

And that does bring up yet another offshoot.....The "original" use of cornbread developed out of necessity but like all good things it spread. Might I suggest the reason it spread so far was that its taste/texture profile goes particularly good with some sorts of food, like BBQ pork, deep fried chicken. Is it the case that its dry and almost neutral taste (though neutral is really the right description- it certainly has flavor of its own but it is subtle rather than imposing).

As it became more popular it changed somewhat because of that very quality, because it needed flavor boost (sugar, spices, more oil, different flour) and it needed different shapes and baking configurations to help, because it was being consumed with other foods.

I find it goes really well with spicy sauced foods, but on its own it does need flavors, oils/butter & toppings.

I guess there are other foods that fall into the same category. Plain garlic bread with pasta but needs extra herbs,salt or Parmesan with other foods, basil with tomatoes, tarragon with salt water fish. They are just the "right" flavors.

I guess that's actually the experience/knowledge that chefs learn and the art is in combining and using that knowledge.

 

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Posted (edited)

This is my post about cornbread some years ago.  I did a treatise with photos that I had on my blog but I shut the blog down as of June 1.

 

My Cornbread

 

Posted in 2006.

 


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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I put a cup of Polenta in the food processor. After 15 minutes I transferred to a different (bigger) machine because it made almost no difference to the texture. I guess it was a little finer but not much.

Might try the coffee grinder next (but I don't really want to contaminate the grinder....) Might have to try the mortar and pestle first though .

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(When I grind something aromatic in my spice grinder, I next grind some rice.     It seems to clean both aroma and residue.   I have never used my coffee grinder for anything but coffee, however.)

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722953932_CornbreadFebruary3rd2018.thumb.jpg.fa626454e219c6b7a0231b97ac5cfa71.jpg

 

This is my favourite cornbread recipe.   I like it sweet for when I make it for breakfast, but reduce the sugar if I'm

baking it to use in a corn dressing/stuffing. 

 

I usually bake it in a cast iron pan, but sometimes I bake it in a loaf pan or in muffin tins.

 

Cornbread Recipe

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@Ann_T, great photo! You mention using the cornbread as stuffing. In that case, do you actually stuff the chicken or do you cook the stuffing outside of the chicken somehow?

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Posted (edited)

Cornbread madelaines with and without jalapeno. Great for a big group, it serves like rolls in a basket with no crumblage.

 

IMG_20141225_143048_852.thumb.jpg.cbc5c37aca9cab8ae99e8a97289d193a.jpg


Edited by gfweb (log)
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Thinking ahead to summer, I remember that broken up cornbread topped with a good buttermilk is a cool and satisfying sweet-salty-tangy dog-days breakfast or supper. 

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Just for the record, here is an old, old topic on cornbread. I found it some time ago when I was trying out various cornbread recipes and soliciting advice, starting with this post in which I linked to several recipes. @gfweb's cornbread madelines recipe is linked there. For myself, I'm still experimenting occasionally with no conclusions. I've purchased several mixes but haven't gotten round to trying them.

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4 hours ago, TdeV said:

@Ann_T, great photo! You mention using the cornbread as stuffing. In that case, do you actually stuff the chicken or do you cook the stuffing outside of the chicken somehow?

I usually mix the cornbread with cubes of regular bread about 1/2 and 1/2 and bake separately.  Although I have baked inside.  But I prefer separate.

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@gfweb, tasty-looking photo. If you had choose between a mini-muffin pan (which I own) and a madeleine pan (which I don't), which would you choose and why?

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