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My Cornbread

Feb
23

In West Virginia, cornbread is practically an art. For my cousin, who grinds his own cornmeal, it’s almost a religion. And I’m a convert. Fresh, stone-ground cornmeal. Try it. You’ll never go back to cornmeal off the shelf again. At the very least, throw out your Jiffy boxes. That is cardboard cornbread. You need the real thing.


Cornbread is easy to make from scratch, but if you want a mix, you can make your own homemade cornbread mix. (I’ll show you how.) If you can, get fresh cornmeal from a local farmers’ market, organic/health food market, or local fairs and festivals. The fresher the cornmeal, the better.

Note: Fresh cornmeal doesn’t contain preservatives. Store in the fridge or freezer.

If you’re in this area, my cousin sells his fresh-ground cornmeal at the Black Walnut Festival in Spencer every October and the Mountain State Arts & Crafts Fair in Ripley every July. (He’s been grinding cornmeal there for so many years, he’s been inducted into their Hall of Fame.) I like to get my cornmeal right off his grinder.

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How to make Cornbread:

2 slices peppered bacon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter (cut up) or oil
2 eggs
1 cup milk or buttermilk

Using a large iron skillet, fry two slices of bacon. Remove the bacon and drain to use for another purpose or crumble and stir into your cornbread mixture before baking.

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter or oil, eggs, and milk or buttermilk. Stir to combine. Don’t overstir. (Sometimes more or less milk is required, depending on slight variations in measuring dry ingredients–add what you need to get a nice, thick almost pourable-but-not consistency.)

Variations: More sugar, if you want really sweet cornbread, or less sugar if you plan to add vegetables to the mixture–you can add a cup or so of diced, sauteed onions, peppers, anything that appeals to you. Add shredded cheese, or corn, or even chopped pecans. (I like it with pecans especially with a sweet, sweet cornbread mixture.)

Pour cornbread mixture into the iron skillet you used to cook the bacon in to season it with the bacon drippings. (First tip the pan all the way around, spreading the bacon drippings to grease the sides of the skillet.) Bake in a 425-oven for 20-25 minutes.

*You can skip the bacon step, if preferred. You can still bake it in a greased cast-iron skillet or in a greased 8 x 8 square baking dish or a pie pan.

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How to make a Homemade Cornbread Mix:

4 cups flour
4 cups cornmeal
1 cup sugar (or less if you don’t plan to make sweet cornbread)
4 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup butter (cut up)

Mix well. Store in the freezer in a large plastic freezer bag. To use, scoop out 2-1/4 cups mix, add 2 eggs and 1 cup of milk or buttermilk. Just like a Jiffy mix. Only so much better. This keeps well in the freezer a long time, so make duplicate bags if you know you like to use mixes to fix cornbread quickly and if this will stop you from using Jiffy mixes. I’m here to help. I’m a helper.

Each batch of mix is enough for 4 pans of cornbread.
IMG_2027
You know you need a pot of beans with that.

See all my cornbread recipes.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.


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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on February 23, 2008  

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Comments

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  1. 2-23
    6:06
    am

    I *love* cornbread! I have a couple of recipes I make once in a while, but the best cornbread I’ve ever had was in Juneau, Alaska, at a salmon bake (one of the tours offered on the cruise my dad took me on for my 40th b-day). Best salmon, best cornbread.

    I’m looking forward to trying this one! (Can’t print till I get to work on Monday, so I hope the recipe still will be available.)

    -Kim

  2. 2-23
    8:01
    am

    :fryingpan: My recipe is very similar…

    To me – the use of the cast iron skillet is what makes the cornbread sooooo good!

  3. 2-23
    8:03
    am

    :hungry: Sounds great to me. We love cornbread. I make mine like yours, in a skillet. Sometimes I like to add bacon (crumbled), grated cheddar cheese, creamed corn, jalepenos, diced (sauteed in bacon grease) onion for a mexican style flavor. Delish. I think I’ll make the mix and try it out. thanks Suzanne!

  4. 2-23
    8:03
    am

    Sorry, I hit something and it posted too soon.

    Sour milk, about 1 tablespoon vinegar per cup of milk. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to thicken a bit. I don’t know if it gives a buttermilk taste, but it’s a handy substitute for recipes that need it to activate the leveners.

    Lovely site…Cindy

  5. 2-23
    8:12
    am

    Kim, my recipes always stay available–after they’re posted on the blog, they go to the archives and can be found easily by going to the Farmhouse Table page (there’s a link toward the top of the sidebar, or click on the How to do stuff button in the menu to get to the Farmhouse Table page that way). On Monday, the post will actually still be listed at the very bottom of the main blog page under Recent Posts, where all the posts from the past week are always linked.

  6. 2-23
    8:15
    am

    Let me see if I can put a link here to the Farmhouse Table page without messing it up….
    The Farmhouse Table

  7. 2-23
    8:52
    am

    The iron skillet is the key. I put it in the oven while it pre-heats, and then pour the batter in the sizzling oil. It makes for an incredible crunchy bottom. Oh dear, I may have to make some for lunch.

  8. 2-23
    9:38
    am

    I love cornbread. My dad hated it so we didn’t eat it as a child, but my husband’s family were big on it, so I had to learn to make it.

    Yes, it is the iron skillet that makes it wonderful. The ladies from peanut butter etouffe had a picture of some delish looking cornbread, but didn’t add the recipe.

    Thanks for sharing yours.

  9. 2-23
    9:47
    am

    Okay so you caught me. I’m a Jiffy corn-breader maker . . .

  10. 2-23
    10:13
    am

    I love the site. I’ve always been Jiffy mixer because I love the sweet flavor, now I’ll try yours and see what happens.

    We used to grind our own wheat and corn, maybe I should drag the grinder out again and play with it.

  11. 2-23
    10:19
    am

    Jiffy Mix… hahaha! I’m a pacific-northern girl. Is there any other mix? :lol: Seriously, when I moved south (for my DH’s job)I was shocked to find an entire three foot section in the grocery store just for corn bread mixes. In Seattle I was used to the Jiffy and maybe one or two other choices. And then to find out people actually make it from scratch, WOW! I really did feel I needed a passport when I ventured into The South.

  12. 2-23
    10:36
    am

    That looks delicious! I get awesome whole-grain, stone ground cornmeal from an antique grist mill and museum about an hour from my house. I’ll definitely try my cornmeal with your yummy-looking recipe. Bacon makes everything better! Thanks!

  13. 2-23
    10:57
    am

    :cattail:
    One of the GOOD things I learned in the 60’s is that you can use honey instead of sugar in any recipe, just cut the amount in half. I use it in cornbread. When the bread is done baking, I rub butter all over the top while it’s still hot, then drizzle more honey over it.
    Love your blog!
    Sooz

  14. 2-23
    11:49
    am

    Give up Jiffy mix? lol. My friend buys your cousin’s cornmeal and loves it.

  15. 2-23
    12:37
    pm

    My name is jeanne and I’ve never made cornbread :shocked:

  16. 2-23
    12:46
    pm

    Jeanne I will stand up beside you and confess that I have never made cornbread either. :shocked: It’s not something we do up here in Canada. Sound yummy though. I’ll have to try it. :hungry:

  17. 2-23
    12:58
    pm

    I… err…. I don’t make cornbread.

    But I think Aaron would like it if I start. But, alas, I’m a vegetarian so I can’t make your cornbread. :\

  18. 2-23
    1:06
    pm

    Jen, you can just use Crisco or an oil spray to grease the skillet and that will be fine!

  19. 2-23
    1:10
    pm

    We LOVE cornbread. I make it almost on a daily basis. Each year on vacation to the Smoky Mountains we buy two 23-lb. bags of white stone-ground cornmeal from The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, TN. Suzanne, I totally agree with the stone-ground meal and with others on the use of a cast-iron skillet. I have a skillet that is only used for the baking of our cornbread.

    Suzanne, I love your blog and your books! I look forward daily to reading your blog–I, too, live the country life!

  20. 2-23
    1:20
    pm

    I’ve used my maternal Grandmother’s recipe since I was 12 – she never measured anything, just used the ‘dump’ method, so one day I caught & measured each ingredient and wrote it on an old greeting card envelope. I still have that 49 year old envelope today, it’s stained, well worn and now laminated to protect it for posterity.

    The only difference between your recipe and hers is that she used 2 parts cornmeal to 1 part flour and it’s just a little coarse and crumbly. Think I’ll try even amounts next time just to see.

    Thanks Suzanne, I love your blog and even ordered a couple of your books and am looking forward to reading them.

  21. 2-23
    2:06
    pm

    That cornbread looks delicious! :hungry: Your recipe is very similar to the one we use. :catmeow:

  22. 2-23
    2:22
    pm

    Hey do me a favor and ask Mark around how much corn it takes to make 5#s I’d like to get some ground next fall. And you do need to get your own chickens you haven’t lived till you have your own. Get some Buff Orphingtons so you will have a few setters too.

  23. 2-23
    3:03
    pm

    Cornbread, fried potaotes and brown beans…and the world is a better place! I think the iron skillet is the key…use an old well seasoned one. I am the proud owner of three different sizes…complimants of my father-in-law who had 10 brothers ans sister that all grew up on cornbread.

  24. 2-23
    3:30
    pm

    Cornbread and beans—yum!

  25. 2-23
    3:45
    pm

    I anxiously anticipate trying your yummy looking recipe! :hungry:

    Right after reading your prior post about the great advantage of using fresh ground cornmeal in lieu of Jiffy, I noticed a bag of stone ground cornmeal on my grocer’s shelf. I realize it’s not “fresh” per se, but I figured it was closer than Jiffy, so I bought a bag. I have one word. YUM! It was the first time I ever made cornbread that we didn’t end up throwing some of it out to the birds later.

    I thoroughly enjoyed what little was leftover of it in a glass of cold buttermilk. Mmmm… :thumbsup:

  26. 2-23
    7:34
    pm

    Funny day for that post….I logged on while the corn meal, sour cream biscuits, I got from your recipes, were in the oven.
    I agree about the cast iron skillet, but I lost mine, and when I try to make loaves in my oven they never cook in the middle, so I just make biscuits and muffins.
    anna
    PS I’m addicted to your blog.

  27. 2-24
    4:59
    am

    Well, cr*p, I don’t have a cast iron skillet. And I’m not buying one. LOL.

    No, cornbread isn’t traditionally made here in Canada, at least not in my culture. I’ve only had it sweet, love it that way. Think the next time I make some I’ll try it with honey, as one of the posters mentioned.

    -Kim

  28. 2-24
    1:34
    pm

    Cornbread isn’t traditionally made here in Finland, either. We have plenty of of other stuff we make here, like pulla (sweet bun). :hungry:

  29. 2-24
    2:54
    pm

    Gosh, Kim, how do you LIVE without a cast iron skillet? I use mine every single day! I make cornbread EXACTLY like you do, Suzanne, except for~ I put more bacon grease in my skillet that is preheating in the oven, and then when all the ingredients are mixed together, I pour the hot bacon grease in my cornbread. I leave plenty in the skillet to make a really crunchy crust. I grind my own yellow cornmeal in my electric grain mill. ONLY freshly ground will do, I agree.

  30. 2-24
    4:03
    pm

    Hmmm, that looks like Walnut Festival cornmeal!

  31. 2-27
    3:12
    pm

    Actually, I was curious about the mention of Buttermilk and fat, so I looked it up. Buttermilk has less fat than 1% milk. So….not that bad. I don’t know if I can say the same about the bacon though…

  32. 2-28
    7:04
    pm

    I made this tonight and it is the best cornbread I’ve ever had! Thanks for the recipe, this one is a keeper.

  33. 3-7
    12:03
    pm

    YOU KNOW THE ELDERLY PREFER WHITE MEAL BECQAUSE THAT WAS UNAVAILABLE DURING THE WAR AND THEY WERE FORCED TO USE YELLOW CORN FROM THE FIELD. THIS WAS GROWN AS ANIMAL FOOD NOT FIT FOR HUMANS, SIMILAR TO THE STIGMA OATS EXPERIENCED AT IT’S INTRODUCTION AS A BREAKFAST GRAIN, MIKE

  34. 4-18
    7:31
    pm

    I just stumbled upon your site and am enjoying it So much. I love this cornbread recipe, as it reminds me of my late mothers. She would get fresh stone ground corn meal too. It appears to be just like her recipe!
    I am loving your site, so far…back to reading.

  35. 8-10
    4:15
    pm

    I have been sitting here for hours reading everything on your website from goats to outhouses.I have dishes piled in the sink and laundry piled all the way up to Glory, but I’m so enthralled with everything on here, they can wait.
    I was raised in the country and now I live in an apartment. We had a general store called Tiny’s, but it’s gone.My shopping trips are the nearest Walmart.
    Boy, do I miss playing in the rain in the summer and feeling the warm mud squishing between my toes.Sitting in the tomato patch, pulling the luscious tomatoes off the vine and salting them with the salt shaker you brought with you, then taking a big ol’ bite and the juice running down your chin. Man! Those were the days!
    I gotta say, I don’t miss the outhoue or the old wood & coal burner.
    Love, love, love your writing
    Shirley in West Virginia :catmeow:

  36. 10-29
    7:37
    am

    OMG!! This was the best cornbread I’ve ever had!! When I was at home, I was always the cornbread maker, because ma’s was just too DRY……..we always had it with bean soup on Saturdays…..the memories. I made bean soup and this cornbread recipe for dinner and it was just the BEST!! The cast iron pan (and probly the bacon grease!) gives it the best crispy crust…..to die for! My man even ate it and he had already told me he probly wouldn’t eat any, he didn’t like it…….proved him wrong!!

    If only I had a supply of fresh cornmeal…but I made to with store bought!!

  37. 10-31
    3:34
    pm

    could you please tell me more of how to make your own cornmeal. what do i have to buuy to make it

  38. 10-31
    3:40
    pm

    Cindy, my cousin buys corn in Virginia (why Virginia, I don’t know, maybe he has a line on a good deal there). He treks over there a couple times a year with his truck and brings back a whole truckload of corn then grinds it out behind his barn to make fresh stoneground cornmeal. I really can’t tell you any more than that about the equipment or specifics about the corn as I’m not involved in the process other than to watch him and make off with the cornmeal, LOL.

  39. 11-2
    9:16
    pm

    thank you . you would think that after living on a farm and growing my own corn that i would know but i really never thought about making my own cornmeal. the spare time that i had i waited on tables. but i will try it.

  40. 1-7
    12:02
    pm

    Use any cornbread recipe.
    (I hand stir 1 to 1 1/2c. cornmeal, 3/4 to 1c. self-rising flour, and full-fat buttermilk…no oil)

    Here is the trick:

    Put one stick of butter in a bundt pan and melt in oven.
    Pour in cornbread batter.[Batter will be swimming in butter] Bake 400-425 until browned on top. You will have a thick buttery crust around each slice.

  41. 1-23
    11:22
    am

    I can’t believe no one rebelled against the use of sugar! I don’t like even a hint of sweetness to my cornbread, so I don’t use any sugar or honey. I hate Jiffy mix cornbread, too. This recipe is pretty much how I make my cornbread except that I usually just pour a little oil in the skillet and let it heat in the oven while I’m mixing the batter, instead of using bacon. I’m trying to eat healthier which is the reason I haven’t had any cornbread so far this year. And I do love it so much! I want to try the fresh ground cornmeal, though, so I may have to stray from the lowfat lifestyle….temporarily, of course….

  42. 3-26
    2:52
    pm

    What size iron skillet do you use for this cornbread?

    Thanks.

    Linda from PA

  43. 3-26
    2:55
    pm

    I use a 10-inch skillet!

  44. 4-1
    5:42
    am

    Oh my gosh!! It’s only 6:30 am and now I want cornbread!!
    My first mother-in-law from the Brewton, Alabama, made THE BEST CORNBREAD EVER. Period. And, you’re right..it is an art form. She didn’t make sweet cornbread, heavens forbid!! But her cornbread was consistently perfect…light but textured perfectly. And it didn’t taste like cake!
    She tried to teach me and I do a fair job (plan on trying YOUR recipe!) but the crowning glory of hers was the way it went in the pan. She put enough bacon drippings to well coat the bottom and, when the batter was poured in, drippings oozed up over the top of the batter. She then took a spoon and spooned the drippings over the top of the batter and with the back of the spoon, she spread it out some. Bake in a ‘fast’ oven and you are ready to just eat it like crazy.
    Cooking, true country cooking is becoming a lost art. Thank you so much for what you contribute on this wonderful site!

  45. 5-9
    9:48
    am

    You said: To use, scoop out about 2-1/4 cups mix, add your eggs, milk, oil/butter, and you’re all set.

    But you don’t say how many eggs, or how much milk, oil/butter to use. (Sorry, another Canadian here, like the other Canucks have already said, cornbread is “exotic” up here) And like Jen(aside), two of my family are vegetarians so the bacon recipe is out. We love the ‘sweet’ cornbread, but can only get it at one restaurant or when we head to the southern states. Hubby is excited for me to try this. Have to go out and buy a cast-iron skillet though. Must be a southern thing.

  46. 5-9
    9:58
    am

    If you’re making your own mix, after you scoop out the 2 1/4 cups mix, you add the same amount of eggs, milk, oil/butter as the recipe directs above.

  47. 10-3
    4:58
    pm

    OMG …. well, I am a Canadian who makes cornbread and I thought I had the best recipe … but this beats it by miles.

    Pulled out the cast iron skillet, heated some bacon fat in it,in the oven, while I made the batter then poured it into the hot pan. Its crispy on the top and bottom and absolutely delish. I added cheese and hot peppers.

  48. 1-12
    3:11
    pm

    Suzanne,

    Sorry if you’ve answered this already….When you make your own cornbread mix to store in freezer do add the cut up butter to the freezer bag then store or add the butter when you’re ready to make it. Thanks, Mary

  49. 1-12
    3:16
    pm

    You can do it either way, Mary!

  50. 1-12
    3:46
    pm

    Oh good! Doesn’t this recipe look yummy?
    http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/five-star-casseroles-00400000039138/page2.html

  51. 2-6
    1:05
    pm

    Me again :-) Told you I loved your site! Yesterday it was Grandmother Bread and Apple strudel loaf…today a big pot of beans and cornbread! I grew up with a Southern Mama and we had this often, though I haven’t even thought of it in years until I saw it here. Kids won’t go for it, so they get mac n cheese while I indulge in some memories.
    I have a question on the cornmeal, I have the Quaker kind (which I always use) and also a bag of fine cornmeal..are they both ok or would the fine be no good for this? I want to make the mix up while I’m at so thought I’d ask since I’m thinking the measurements would be different with different *grinds*?

  52. 2-6
    2:13
    pm

    Cathy, I’m not sure about the fine-ground cornmeal. I’ve never used that. If I had some, I’d just try it and call it a baking experiment!

  53. 2-9
    10:30
    am

    update: Used the fine cornmeal and the cornbread was great! Even my none cornbread eating son loved it :-)

  54. 11-26
    2:46
    pm

    My grandmother used to make cornbread for me and always joked that I loved eating it better than cake! She has passed away, I have yet to find anything that compares to her sweet cornbread. While I must say that this is not the same as hers, it is the closest that I have had! It is wonderful and I am using it along with your cornbread dressing today for lunch!

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