Monday, December 18, 2017

Is it still cornbread if it has more flour than cornmeal?

I don’t think so. My idea of what cornbread should be comes from before I was five years old. Back then we lived in Knoxville, Tennessee. True southern cornbread has all (or mostly) cornmeal and minimal amounts of flour, no sugar, and the liquid is buttermilk.

But over at the Ada County Library I found the 1999 New England Cookbook by Brooke Dojny. On page 451 it had a recipe for Crusty Cornbread, Muffins, or Sticks which had 1-1/4 cups of flour and only 3/4 cup of cornmeal. I would call that corn-flavored bread, and consider it heresy.

The table shown above compares several versions of cornbread. (Click on it for a larger, clearer view). Two of them are from Bill Neal’s 1990 book, Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie. One for Northern Cornbread is from the 1997 Joy of Cooking, a fourth is from a web page for Bob’s Red Mill, and the heretical fifth is from the New England Cookbook.

What’s a corn stick? It’s the analog of a breadstick, made by pouring the batter into a cast iron pan with a series of cavities shaped like miniature ears of corn. See this web page on Understanding Corn Stick Pans.

Early experiences shape our views, and as I blogged about back in 2010, we decide Everybody does it this way, don’t they?

The image of cornbread came from Wikimedia Commons.

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