Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

I hate bread

February 4, 2005

Except sometimes and some breads.

I love cornbread and I love my little cornbread iron. Maybe because it’s bound up in a possibly made-up memory or maybe it was something that really happened. But I believe that I became covetous of my Auntie S’s when she dished up some cornbread ‘ears’ for Thanksgiving at least 2 decades ago.

A cornbread iron is a perfect iron age tool. You heat it up, grease it up, heat it up some more and then pour in the cornbread batter. Shove the lot in the oven and the cornbread takes half the time and finishes with an excellent texture and crumb.

This recipe I like to use originated from the various versions of the Rombauer Sisters’ Joy of Cooking. It’s the ‘Northern Corn Bread’ and I just know that’s got to be some sort of an insult somewhere… I have changed the recipe quite a bit to suit my tastes, using butter instead of oil, chucking in the zest and juiice of an orange, substituting… ah hell, you can tell I can’t follow instructions to save my life!

Debra’s Cornbread (makes 14 ears plus one little loaf, takes 10 minutes excluding baking)

Preheat the oven to 425┬░F/220┬░c position the wrack in the middle.
Place the cornbread iron and any other receptical you’re planning on using for baking in the oven now to get it hot.

1 1/4 cups fine yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup fine whole wheat chapati flour (or white flour or whatever sort of flour)
2 tbs sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix these dry ingredients together in a large bowl with a fork. Fluff it up.

In another bowl mix the following wet ingredients until creamy:

2 eggs
zest and juice of one orange (be brutal)
1/2 cup yoghurt (the higher the fat content, the better)
1/2 cup kwark (or more yoghurt, or buttermilk, or milk - it’s all good, it all works)
4 tbs melted butter

Take the cornbread iron out of the now-hot oven and grease it up in earnest. I use peanut oil. Drizzle the oil into the iron and pat away the excess (or don’t) with an old tea towel.

Place the empty (but greased!) cornbread iron back into the oven.

What you are going to do next is NOT MIX THE WET AND THE DRY VERY WELL. You are going to mix them poorly. This is the key to light and fluffy cornbread (and all quickbreads in fact). With a rubber spatula fold the batter together in maximum 7 hand motions. Each time you fold and cut, you turn the bowl a quarter with your other hand. Sound complicated? It isn’t. Just don’t mix very well.

Remove the hot hot hot cornbread iron from the oven and dump a few tbs in each ‘ear’. Don’t over fill because the mixture will puff up a bit at some point. (You may notice it puffing up in the bowl already.) Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and cooked through and through.

Turn the ears out onto a tea towel. They can be kept warm in the oven (and rewarmed the next day) in this tea towel when you’ve finished baking the cornbread and returned the oven to a more relaxed temperature.

Theoretically you shouldn’t need to put butter on these ears of corn. But that’s the difference between theory and practice now isn’t it! In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice, they aren’t.

debra at 22:37 | | post to


  1. Here is Meathenge’s favorite cornbread recipe, brought to you directly from Mr. Meathead.

    2 Cups Corn Meal
    2 Cups Buttermilk
    3/4 teaspoon Baking SODA
    1 Egg
    Salt to taste
    1/4 Cup of lard/bacon grease/shortening
    NO SUGAR!!!!!

    (optional) 2 scoops of mayonnaise

    Grandma told my mother she’d put a big lump of Mayonnaise in it.
    Now I’m not sure why or if she really did or not, ’cause she was real cagey about her recipe. I’ve been palying with the measurements on that. But hers was bacony meality moisty moistness Corn Bread Heaven.

    … The Lard/BG combo works well. Ratios are to taste i.e 1/1 1/2 I used 1/3.

    …Greasy hot skillet is a corn breads best friend. Did I say greasy? Oh yeah, more grease please.

    Xo Xo

    Comment by Dr. Biggles — February 9, 2005 @ 0:50

  2. This is a perfect treasure of a recipe and I have no problems with using bacon grease as an ingredient. I make a bernaise sauce with bg - that I’ve seen people DRINK it was so delicious.

    I will absolutely try this recipe (minus the mayo - because I’d just have to make mayo anyway) as soon as I get back from India in April. (When I’m not practicing being a vegetarian.)(A real one.)

    Comment by debra — February 9, 2005 @ 13:16

  3. Yeah, give it a shot. Meathead made it and was nice enough to save me a sliver. DEELIGHTFUL !!!


    Comment by Dr. Biggles — February 9, 2005 @ 20:09

  4. Hello! Just stumbled upon your blog, and wana say hi. This look yummylicious! I love corn bread too :-) Nice foodie blog

    Comment by penny — May 3, 2005 @ 5:34

  5. Thank you Penny!

    Comment by debra — May 3, 2005 @ 7:01

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