all-corn cornbread

i’ve had cast iron skillets for years and until recently i had never cooked cornbread in one of them. but i found myself craving cornbread so i started to look at recipes (i’m a great cook but not a great baker so i like to refer to recipes). what i didn’t like about the recipes i was finding was that they had both cornmeal and flour as dry ingredients – sometimes even more flour than corn – and frankly, i want cornbread, not corn-and-flour bread. (also, it happens to be gluten-free if you don’t use flour so it’s an easy way to include your GF friends in on something you bake)

i found a few all-corn cornbread recipes and amalgamated them into my own recipe. i’m going to give it to you below, along with directions on how to cook it. because this doesn’t have any flour, the texture of the finished bread is a lot more crumbly than you might be used to – that’s because it’s just corn and it’s a feature, not a flaw, so get used to it.

you’ll need:

— 2 cups of cornmeal – you can use any grind you want, but i think the most pleasant is a finer grind. i often replace 1/2 cup of the finer cornmeal with some coarse cornmeal to give it some texture. the more coarse the mix, the more crumbly it’ll be

— 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda – this is for leavening. i’m sure there are replacements or switcharoos, but i try not to fuck with the stuff that’s supposed to make it rise into something bread like

— 2 eggs – make sure you bring your eggs to room temperature before you cook them; it’ll give you a better cook as the cold from the eggs won’t cool off the pan as much – that goes for your eggs for breakfast, too

— 4 tablespoons of sweetener – you can adjust this to taste, but this amount will give you a subtle sweetness. i use maple syrup as i don’t like honey and i prefer not to use refined sugar. don’t use mrs. butterworth or log cabin or that fake shit – real maple syrup

— 1 and 1/3 cups of buttermilk – this provides the liquid and the acid for the leaveners, so you don’t want to substitute with plain milk. you can, however, acidulate your own milk with vinegar to get the same effect (google it) – also, back off the liquid a little bit if you use honey or maple syrup (or another liquid sweetener)

— 6 tablespoons of butter

— 10-12″ cast iron skillet

the steps could not be any easier. make sure you follow in the order i present them here.

  1. heat your oven to 425F and put the cast iron skillet in the oven without anything in it
  2. whisk all of the above ingredients, except the butter, together
  3. when the oven has come to temperature, remove the skillet and drop the butter into the hot skillet
  4. swirl the butter in the skillet until it’s all melted then pour off the melted butter into your batter – you don’t have to get it all out, you want some lining the pan
  5. mix the hot butter into the batter and then pour the butter back into the cast iron skillet
  6. bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until it’s light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean

this is the cornbread i made today. it’s a little darker than i might usually expect cornbread to be, but i think that’s largely due to the maple syrup (versus white sugar).