Corn Bread

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by koukouvagia, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Yesterday I made cornbread following this recipe. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/skillet-cornbread/

    I doubled the recipe to fit my 12" cast iron skillet.  I used half stone ground cornmeal and half fine ground cornmeal because it wasn't specified in the recipe.  I reduced the salt a bit.  Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.

    The texture was very nice, I like that bit of crunch the stone ground cornmeal gave.  But I found that the bottom was too crunchy and the top browned too dark 20minutes in.  I took it out and it was beautifully cooked inside, moist and flaky.  I'm not one who likes sweet corn bread, but I found this a bit too unsweet for me.  Even drenched with honey it didn't balance well.

    So while the texture is good, the idea is good, it cooked nicely, but something about it didn't thrill me.  What could I have done to fix this?  Use butter instead?  Add a little sugar?
     
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Pioneer Woman's recipe is not sweet and very heavy on the cornmeal. 

    Sugar?  Yes.  I use white sugar and a touch of molasses mixed in a proportion that would be the equivalent of an extra light brown sugar.   To 3 cups (about) of the other dries, that's 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbs molasses.  Maple syrup works well, too.  Don't worry, you can still use butter and honey.

    I also like to add whole corn kernels to the batter.  They bring texture and sweetness.

    I don't mix two different grinds of corn meal or corn flour, just coarse corn meal (which is the same thing as polenta, BTW).  All corn meal, or significantly more corn meal than flour makes for a coarser, drier bread.  I prefer moister and more cakey, so mix the corn meal with AP flour at a ratio of 1 cup cornmeal to 1-1/2 - 2 cups flour which is fairly standard.   Peter Reinhart's uses 1-3/4 cups AP, and that's what sticks in my head.  Here's a link to Reinhart's recipe, which is excellent.  You can omit the bacon and cut the long preferment to 30 minutes, and still get a great cornbread. 

    You can also use your cast iron skillet for the extra crispy bottom and sides.  

    BTW, nice catch on the timing.   

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    According to Reinhart's recipe he uses lower heat and butter and vegetable oil where as the pioneer woman uses shortening.  I can't figure out what went wrong, why did it nearly burn, and why did it have a slightly bitter flavor?  I wouldn't want it too sweet but I'm thinking something went technically wrong rather than with the recipe.
     
  4. foodnfoto

    foodnfoto

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    People like all different levels of sweetness in their cornbread, but as a southern girl, I HATE it if it's too sweet and cakey. I usually use a tablespoon or two of brown sugar for every cup of cornmeal in my cornbread.

    The reason it burned is that the oven temp was too hot, especially if you are starting the skillet and batter on the stovetop.

    I bake mine at 375˚ an put the skillet in the oven when I turn it on, then pull it out, swirl a little oil on it and add the batter to get a nice sizzle and crispy brown crust.

    The bitterness comes from too much baking powder and baking soda. I think you can skip the baking soda altogether and it will be much better. The lactic acid in the buttermilk will raise the bread just fine when it is combined with all that baking powder in the dry mix and exposed to heat. 

    Scuse me BDL, but cornmeal is not the same as polenta. Polenta is generally a coarser grind than traditional cornmeal. Maybe it's the same in CA, and quite possibly that's why the cornbread that's offered up here in NY is such BS mess. I like Hodgeson's Mill yellow cornmeal-it's silky and bakes up with just the right combination of crunch and cakiness.
     
    creativehands likes this.
  5. creativehands

    creativehands

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    Hi, I am new to the forum, but, a good way to make cornbread with Hodgeson's Mill yellow cornmeal, whole milk, eggs, canola oil, and baking powder.  When you mix the ingredients together put warm "sweet and salty" butter in the bottom of the pan, pour the ingredients and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, then for the last minute pour a little bit of maple syrup on the top, put back in for 2 minutes, remove and let cool.  This will give you a excellent texured cornbread, moist and a nice crust with "crunch".
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The problem may have come from doubling and using a different size pan then specified, your oven may have been off; or, more likely, it's just a bum recipe.  Pioneer Woman is a new show -- though an old and great blog -- and there may have been slip ups between her stove and the Food Network website.  It happens. 

    Anyone is entitled to have her corn bread as sweet or savory as she likes.  The Reinhart recipe calls for 6:1 dries to sugar, which is admittedly sweet; you can certainly adjust the amount to suit.  It's only sugar, and no evil will happen if you take it down from 12tbs to, say, 2.  It seemed like the Reinhart recipe might suit Koukouvagia because of its nicely crisped bottom and edges, and because the sweet/tangy balance was there.  Yes, it is on the rich-cakey-puddingy end of the spectrum compared to Pioneer Woman's; yes, it's not "Southern" or typical; and yes, it's not the master corn bread recipe of all time. 
     

    Some recipes don't use any sugar at all.  Some people use yellow cake mix (ala Marie Callendar's).   Some people...  well... you know how they are. There's a lot of variance allowed.  

    The Reinhart recipe is not the recipe I use most often.  I use roughly equal parts corn meal and flour; then per cup of flours: 3 tsp sugar, 1 tsp molasses or maple syrup, 1 tsp baking soda; scant tsp salt (about),  pinch of baking soda, 1/2 - 1 egg (depending), 1-1/3 cup buttermilk (or milk + yogurt or sour cream), whole corn kernels, and chopped garlic chives or scallion tops or cheddar cheese and chopped chillies with all ingredients except the corn meal, flour, and eggs measured by eye. 

    Reinhart's recipe is more than a project, it's a well thought out endeavor.  Me? I just throw everything together while the skillet (or mold) is preheating with the grease (or butter or lard).  Again, not the master corn bread recipe of all time. 

    There are a lot of ways to make corn bread; and I could have formalized my own fairly standard version and presented it in recognizable "recipe" form, but Reinhart's recipe seemed apropos for an adventurous cook like Koukouvagia.  You gotta love all the bacon.  Maybe it was because I always liked Reinhart, recently got a few more of his books, and have Reinhart-on-the-brain syndrome. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  7. maryb

    maryb

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    Some people ... *gasp* use Jiffy cornbread mix /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif I use it as a base, add 2 eggs instead of one, add my home canned corn that has a lot of the corn cream in it. Bacon, cheddar, jalapenos are all good.
     
  8. durangojo

    durangojo

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    kk,

     i use craig claiborne's recipe for jalapeno cornbread with great success...it has jalapenos and cheese which sometimes i omit if i just want straight cornbread. his recipe calls for lots of butter(like a cup),stone ground cornmeal and creamed corn(2 cups) which makes it well, creamy......i heat some butter in cast iron skillets(2) til very hot but not browned, pour in batter and bake in 375 oven for 45 minutes...very righeous and delicious

    joey 
     
  9. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Thanks for the input.  I'm usually a horrible baker and that's probably why my cornbread came out bad.  But making skillet cornbread is alot like cooking so I will enjoy experimenting with the different ideas you guys gave me.  Again, I was pleased with the texture of the cornbread and the crispyness but it needed lower heat, butter alongside the shortening, and a bit of sugar.  I am enjoying it though with some apple butter this morning.
     
  10. durangojo

    durangojo

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    kk, 

    apple butter on your cornbread, which sounds really good by the way, got me to thinking about all the fallish foods i like to make.....for me..apple butter, pumpkin butter, butternut sqaush soup, acorn squash soup or stuffed, spiced pumpkin bread, pumpkin rolls, roasted root vegetables, and yes, believe it or not, mincemeat......anyone else?

    joey
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  11. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Yes, fall is the best.  I've never eaten mincemeat (is that vegemite?), and I don't know what it is, but I'm pretty sure I don't like it.
     
  12. durangojo

    durangojo

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    kk,

    while mincemeat is certainly not for everyone it is as far away from vegemite as democrats are to republicans....it is closer to a chutney than anything...dried fruits, apples, pears,nuts, raisins, candied orange peel,currants etc. mixed with brandy, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, brown sugar...allowed to mellow for a week to a month before using.....pretty rich stuff really...ever heard of mincemeat pie? it's great in cookies too. i use it as a condiment for roast turkey for thanksgiving...i think of it as a 'retro' food....it's origin i believe is brittish, and they used to put suet in it, for some reason.....anyway,try it... i think you would like it...it's perfect for the holidays!

    joey
     
  13. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Why did I think there was meat in it?  It doesn't sound bad.
     
     
  14. ishbel

    ishbel

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    I make mincemeat at the end of October in order to have plenty to give as gifts and use as the filling for our traditional Christmas mincepies. 

    The original mincemeat did, indeed, contain minced meat in the middle ages, but nowadays is always a sweet concoction!  I always add the suet as it gives a better result. 

    I make enough to last well into the new year, my kids adored 'flies cemetery' - a pastry base, covered in mincemeat and latticed pastry on top...  (You can guess why it's called that!)  It's also great as an ingredient for a Christmas-tasting ice-cream.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  15. sherbel

    sherbel

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    When I lived in Ottawa I worked for a caterer who had the British High Commission as a client, and I made mincemeat for them one year using a recipe that they provided. I so wish that I had kept that recipe!

    As I recall it was started about two months before Christmas, a mixture of various dried fruits, spices and booze....brandy, I think. Finely shredded beef suet, too. For the first few weeks it was fairly horrid; fruit floating about in liquid, I had to add more alcohol and stir it about each week, I believe. After a month or so it basically transformed itself, the liquid thickened to a sauce-like consistency, it smelled rich and lovely...it was magical, really. We added apples to the mix when we made it into tarts, it was quite strong and the best mincemeat that I've ever tasted.

    I don't run with mincemeat eaters these days, so I haven't made it again, but I do treat myself to a jar of imported mincemeat every year.
     
  16. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    .....contain minced meat in the middle ages,

    And long after that as well. Meat and suet were part of mincemeat well into the 19th century. And perhaps later than that.

    The recipe I use comes from the Custis/Lee family, and is dated ca 1760. But I have other recipes dating as late as 1840 that use mea5t aned suet.

    Without looking into it, my sense is that meatless mincemeat is a product of the 20 century, and, as such, is relatively new.
     
  17. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    A brief description of MINCEMEAT:  a cooked mixture of minced foods and spices.  Mincemeats were originally developed as an alternative to smoking or drying as a method of preserving meat, but over the years many meatless versions have evolved.  A typical mincemeat always contains raisins, a mixture of spices,  and a fruit such as apples, pears, or tomatoes.  It may contain meat, currants, candied fruits, and brandy, rum or other liquor.  Commercially prepared mincemeats include ready-to-use varieties plain or with brandy or rum added, which are available in jars; and dried, condensed mincemeats whch are packaged.  The latter are reconstituted by the addition of water, or can be crumbled and used dry, as one would use any dried minced fruit.  Source:  "Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery,  Volume7 copyright 1966  The same book also gives six recipes for mincemeat,  including one called "Pilgrim Mincemeat" which starts with 3 & 1/2 pounds of beef brisket.  Makes 16 pints. 

    Wow, we went from cornbread to mincemeat without any warning.  Regarding cornbread, though.  My recipe calls for buttermilk,  which I didn't notice in any of the previous posts.  I also use honey instead of sugar, but not as much as the recipe says. 
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  18. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The cited Reinhart recipe uses buttermilk.  So does the one I posted as mine. 

    BDL
     
  19. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Thanks BDL.  I stand corrected.  (medicine brain today).
     
  20. durangojo

    durangojo

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    i didn't really list all the ingredients of the cornbread recipe i use(craig claiborne's), but it indeed has buttermilk in it...just so you know..

    joey