southern cornbread recipe
In the heart of Southern culinary traditions, cornbread stands as a timeless icon—a golden delight that has graced dinner tables for generations. This classic Southern cornbread recipe is a celebration of simplicity and flavor, capturing the essence of comfort and warmth. From its crispy edges to its moist, tender crumb, this cornbread is more than a side dish; it’s a journey through the rich tapestry of Southern cuisine. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and let’s embark on a culinary adventure that will transport you to the heart of the South.
- 2 cups of stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups of buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons of bacon fat (for authenticity)
- Optional: 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels for an extra burst of sweetness
- 10-inch cast-iron skillet
- Mixing bowls (large and medium)
- Wooden spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Oven mitts
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Begin by preheating your oven to 425°F (220°C). Place the cast-iron skillet in the oven as it heats, allowing it to get nice and hot.
Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, combine the stone-ground cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients together until well incorporated, ensuring an even distribution of leavening agents.
Step 3: Prepare Wet Ingredients
In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Slowly pour in the melted butter, continuing to whisk as you do so. For an authentic touch, add bacon fat to the mixture, infusing the cornbread with a subtle smokiness.
Step 4: Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients
Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Gently fold the mixture together with a wooden spoon, ensuring not to overmix. The batter should be lumpy; overmixing can result in a dense cornbread.
Step 5: Optional Addition of Corn Kernels
For those who crave an extra burst of sweetness and texture, fold in fresh or frozen corn kernels at this stage. The addition of corn provides delightful pockets of flavor, enhancing the overall experience.
Step 6: Grease the Skillet
Carefully remove the hot cast-iron skillet from the oven using oven mitts. Add a tablespoon of bacon fat to the skillet, swirling it around to coat the bottom and sides evenly. This step not only prevents sticking but also imparts a subtle smoky flavor to the cornbread.
Step 7: Pour and Bake
Pour the cornbread batter into the hot, greased skillet. The sizzle as the batter meets the hot surface promises a golden, crispy crust. Place the skillet back into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Step 8: Let It Rest
Once baked to perfection, remove the skillet from the oven and let the cornbread rest for a few minutes. This resting period allows the flavors to meld and the texture to set, ensuring a moist and tender crumb.
Step 9: Serve and Enjoy
Slice the cornbread into wedges and serve warm. Whether accompanying a bowl of chili, soaking up the juices of collard greens, or simply enjoyed on its own, this Southern cornbread is a culinary masterpiece that embodies the soul of Southern comfort.
In this journey through the heart of Southern cuisine, we’ve crafted a cornbread recipe that captures the essence of tradition and brings a touch of Southern warmth to your table. From the sizzle of the hot skillet to the golden perfection that emerges from the oven, this Southern cornbread is more than a recipe—it’s a celebration of heritage, flavor, and the joy of sharing good food with those you love. So, savor each bite, and let the comforting notes of cornmeal and buttermilk transport you to the sun-drenched porches and bustling kitchens of the South. Happy baking!