Baking Bread

Tender Buttermilk Cornbread

Given that cornbread often turns out dry and crumbly and more like a large block of dry crumbs than tender, toothsome bread, this tender buttermilk cornbread is definitely a win!

Nobody likes the word moist. That’s why I’m choosing to call this tender buttermilk cornbread – to indicate that it is quite nicely the opposite of dry. It’s a very satisfactory, simple and straightforward cornbread that I enjoyed with my annual New Year’s black eyed peas.

I think this was actually the first time I’ve made cornbread from scratch – having grown up in a Jiffy corn muffin mix household. But I had cornmeal on hand on New Year’s day and very much didn’t want to brave the grocery store again. I also had some leftover buttermilk in the fridge, which I’m beginning to think might become a household staple, since it’s been popping up in experimental recipes of late…

Anyway! I wanted cornbread. Collard greens simply demand cornbread companionship. So, I first looked around in my cookbooks and had settled on trying a cheddar/bacon/cornbread concoction that I’ll probably attempt at some later date. But then I looked at the back of the bag of cornmeal, and low and behold, the recipe seemed simple and likely to yield tasty cornbread and I needed to use up my remaining buttermilk. (Plus, I was adding bacon to both the beans and the collard greens, so it seemed moderately reasonable to skip it in the only other component of the meal).

This is a pretty standard sort of cornbread. Unfussy and, well, straightforward. It tastes of corn, though in a mellow way. Unlike a lot of cornbread that pairs well with honey, my dinner companion and I decided this version actually tastes better with just butter. Go figure.

Given that cornbread often turns out dry and crumbly and more like a large block of dry crumbs than tender, toothsome bread, I’m recording this win for posterity. You know, in case I buy a different brand of cornbread somewhere down the line.

And, in typical New Year’s Resolution type fashion, I’m hoping to get better about posting things around these parts. So, this was my first bake of the year, and it turned out well enough to share.

Also, I’m tinkering around with some new formatting in how I write my recipes, per a friend’s new blog. Adding the ingredients and amounts directly to the instructions DEFINITELY makes it easier when working off a mobile device, so kudos to Jess for the idea!


Tender Buttermilk Cornbread

(adapted from Bob’s Red Mill – mostly in the instructions and methods of combining ingredients)

  • 1 cup cornmeal (ideally medium grind, though it probably doesn’t matter)
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

Preheat the oven to 375°F, and spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the 1 cup cornmeal and 1 1/3 cups buttermilk until thoroughly coated. Let the cornmeal soak for at least 10 minutes while you melt the butter and assemble the other ingredients.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt .

Once the cornmeal has had at least 10 minutes to soak in the buttermilk, mix in the 2 eggs one at a time, stirring until each one is fully incorporated. Then, add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is homogeneous.

Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet and gently fold in the flour mixture until no streaks remain. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 minutes – until the top is golden and puffed up in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (You may need a couple extra minutes, but be careful not to overbake – that will dry out your bread and make for a sad dinner).

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