I’ve been making a lot of cornbread this last week – prepping for Thanksgiving and my amazing cornbread stuffing! Did you know that cornbread is made differently in the North than it is in the South? I’m a Southern woman. Daddy was in the USMC and we were stationed all over the south. The only time I ever lived in the north is when Daddy went to war and we moved to Indiana to be near his parents while he was overseas. Mom wanted to be close to family in case she needed help – my brother was about 18 months old and I was 3.
I learned how to make cornbread from my Grandma. The northern variety. I later learned how to make the southern variety from a father-in-law. What’s the difference?
Northern cornbread tends to be made with yellow cornmeal and is sweeter, lighter and higher – because it is a combination of white flour and yellow cornmeal with a touch of sugar. Southern cornbread tends to be made with white cornmeal and is crumbly, dry and flat with a really crispy crunchy crust. I loved the crust on what my southern father-in-law made but I was shocked at how flat cornbread was when made by people in the south. I combined the best of both worlds! I actually make a northern cornbread with a southern crust!
Let’s make a batch of my cornbread step by step together!
Here is what you are going to need – and of course a cast iron skillet! Seriously – cooking this in cast iron is going to give you that southern crunchy crust!
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place your oil of choice (not butter!) into your cast iron skillet. I use tallow that I’ve rendered from one of our steers. You could use an organic vegetable shortening or olive oil.
Push the dry ingredients up the side of the bowl leaving a well at the bottom. Add your eggs into that well and mix, leaving some of the dry ingredients along the sides.
Because I use homegrown eggs, and I don’t take the time to candle them, I always crack my eggs into a separate bowl so I don’t waste ingredients just in case there’s an off egg.
Add your milk and buttermilk and stir until almost completely combined.
Then drizzle your melted butter over the top of the batter and finish mixing completely.
Now…here is where the southern part comes into play. Carefully remove that very hot pan with the melted tallow from the oven and place on stove top. Pour your batter into that hot pan! You’ll hear it sizzle! Then carefully place that pan right back in the oven to bake! If you’re very good at pouring, you can do it while the pan is sitting on the oven rack.
Set your timer and make sure you have some softened butter ready! I also love cornbread with a fruit jam/jelly. My favorite topping is my hot strawberry jam!
Your cornbread is ready when the sides have pulled away from the pan, the top is golden brown and lightly cracked
Enjoy warm but it is also delicious warmed up! My husband loves it split and covered with black-eyed peas and stewed tomatoes. I have also made this with blue cornmeal and sometimes a mixture when I needed to finish up the blue cornmeal and didn’t have enough for a batch – so I combine with the yellow!
Enjoy my uniting of north and south! Leave a comment if you try this recipe and let me know what you think! Do YOU have a favorite recipe? Be sure to share it!Print
This is my personal recipe for cornbread combining the light, sweet cornbread of the north with the crispy crust of the south!
1 cup yellow cornmeal – stone ground
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp sugar (you can use less – I do!)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup milk
2 tblsp unsalted butter, melted
Oil for pan – olive, tallow or organic vegetable shortening
Hot cast iron skillet
Adjust oven rack to center position and pre-heat oven to 450. Place 2 -3 tablespoon of oil in cast iron skillet and place into oven. An 8 or 9 inch skillet is perfect. I use my grandma’s 10 inch skillet but I double the recipe.
Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk. Push ingredients up the side of the bowl to make a well. Crack eggs into the well and stir lightly with a wooden spoon until the eggs are partially mixed, leaving dry ingredients still up the sides. Add milk and buttermilk. Stir quickly until almost combined. Then drizzle the melted butter over the top of the batter and stir until mixed.
Pour batter into hot greased pan and bake until the top is golden brown and lightly cracked. The edges should have pulled away from the side of the pan. About 25 minutes usually does it! Longer if you double the recipe!
Cut cornbread into pie shaped wedges and serve warm with plenty of softened butter and perhaps some of my hot strawberry jam!