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BBA #10: Cornbread

August 2, 2009
tags: ,

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I’m back on the BBA Challenge train after a 2-week break…and the recipe that was up next to tackle was one that, frankly, I thought was a little out of place in book primarily dedicated to yeast bread: cornbread! We love cornbread in this house — the sweet, cakey kind — and so the fact that it was a bit of an anomaly in BBA didn’t turn me off from making it, but it did make me curious as to whether or not this recipe would be any better than the cornbread recipe I’ve been using lately (the Dairy House Hollow Skillet Cornbread recipe from The Cornbread Gospels, a definitive compilation of cornbread history and recipes if there ever was one!)

This was the first recipe in the BBA Challenge where I intentionally left out an ingredient specified in the recipe. Reinhart’s version of cornbread in the book is topped with a layer of crunchy bacon. Now, some of you who read this blog regularly and know how much I love bacon and any pork product may be shocked – shocked! – that I chose not to include this ingredient when I made the cornbread, but something about the idea of it just wasn’t flying with me right now. I’m sure the bacon topping is delicious, and maybe I’d be more in the mood for it when cooler weather rolls around, but in these warm days of summer, I was craving just a sweet, moist, cornbread singing with the pure flavor of summer corn.

Reinhart’s cornbread is a simple quick bread — no yeast, no rising, no kneading — and it’s solidly on the sweet end of the cornbread spectrum, with granulated sugar, brown sugar and honey included as ingredients. It starts with a soaker of coarse cornmeal and buttermilk. I mixed these two ingredients together in a bowl and, per Reinhart’s instruction, left them out at room temperature overnight.

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The next day, I mixed together AP flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl.

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In a separate bowl, I whisked together 3 eggs…

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…to which I would add a mixture of melted butter and honey.

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I then added the egg/butter/honey mixture to the soaked cornmeal mixture, and whisked to combine.

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Finally, I added this wet mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture…

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…whisked to blend into a batter, then added 2 1/2 cups of fresh corn, sliced off the cob. Yum.

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And again, deviating from Reinhart’s recipe (I was feeling so rebellious that day, can’t you tell?) I decided to make muffins and a little mini-loaf, instead of baking the bread in my cast iron skillet. I do usually make my cornbread in the cast iron skillet, and it’s delicious, but we were heading out of town over the weekend and I wanted something a little more portable to take with us to snack on in the car: muffins fit the bill.

(If I do make this recipe again and use the bacon topping, I’ll go with Reinhart’s suggestion of coating the cast iron skillet with rendered bacon fat. Which, if you’re going the bacon-topped route, would be fantastic.)

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The muffins baked for about 25 minutes, and while they didn’t rise very much out of the cups, I could tell they’d be very moist.

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The loaf baked for a bit longer, probably closer to 40 minutes.

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The verdict: this was, hands-down, the moistest cornbread recipe I’ve ever had. Which was lovely, since many cornbread recipes yield a finished bread that’s crumbly and dry…not so with this: it was ultra-moist, full of sweet corn kernels, and even better the second day. The brown sugar gave a very subtle caramel undertone to the bread which was surprising but delicious. When I make this next time, I think I might actually cut down on the sugar just a bit, as it was just a little too sweet for my taste, but with that modification I think it’s a definite winner.

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Cornbread recipe can be found here.

Previous BBA Bread: Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Swirl Bread

Up Next: Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2009 1:25 pm

    It was definitely the moistest cornbread I’ve ever made, too! I used the bacon and baked it in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and it was absolutely fantastic! You might try it that way once with the full amount of sugar because I think the salty bacon helps to balance out the sweetness. Great post!!

    • August 2, 2009 8:04 pm

      Hi Nicole! Yes, I’m definitely going to have to try it with the bacon next time. Salty + sweet is a pretty killer combo.🙂

  2. Allison permalink
    August 2, 2009 7:48 pm

    Hi Amy! I have some fresh corn and buttermilk in my fridge… sounds like there might be some delicious cornbread in my future. But the link you gave didn’t include the middle page of the BBA recipe. Is it possible for you to give us the amounts for each ingredient, or is that against the copyright? Thanks🙂

  3. August 2, 2009 8:41 pm

    Baby Girl, are those silicone muffin cups? I am curious as to why you placed them into the metal muffin pan? As to the recipe, we love corn muffins/bread and will definately be trying this recipe very soon!

    I call you Baby Girl because I am sooooo much older than you (could be yo mama!) and because I’m just plain fond of that salutation. I love your blog…. it’s one of 2 I actually really get to read… it’s not too long and definately a joy.

  4. August 3, 2009 9:23 am

    Where do you find your fun colored muffin wraps? I love them!

  5. Sparkle Girl permalink
    August 3, 2009 9:32 am

    I,too, am curious about the muffin cups. Presuming they are the silicone cups: how are they for cleanup?

  6. August 3, 2009 9:40 am

    Re: the silicone muffin cups — I received them as a gift from an eco-friendly home goods store; many cooking/baking supply shops carry them now, though. I place them in the muffin tin so that they don’t sag outward too much with the weight of the batter (as they might if I just left them freestanding on a sheet pan.) It might not be a huge issue, but I like to give them a little support. They’re not bad for cleanup, but I usually soak them a little in warm water first to loosen any crusty bits near the edges.

  7. August 3, 2009 10:33 pm

    Yum! Me too, I love a sweet cornbread- the bacon touch would’ve been perfect for me, heh heh🙂

  8. August 4, 2009 11:33 am

    I love cornbread too and I’m always on the lookout for new recipes. This sounds just perfect!

  9. November 12, 2010 4:10 pm

    Next time I fix Red Beans & Rice, I will definitely try this wonderful sounding cornbread! Love your journel from the CIA Boot Camp!

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