Dutch Oven Corn Bread

Joined Mar 11, 2007
An original recipe of Phoebe Underhill, 1834, modernized by Dr. Alice Ross

The success of this corn bread depends on quick mixing and immediate baking.  It is a quick bread and you can achieve its moistness and tenderness by having all the ingredients set out before you begin.  Like muffins and biscuits, you must not overbeat, but rather leave the batter a bit lumpy.  The batter should be thick, wet, and "ploppy" – not stiff.  You can make adjustments, if necessary, by adding more cornmeal or buttermilk.

If you want to prepare this dish in your fireplace, place two shovelfuls of glowing embers on the hearth.  Set the Dutch oven over the embers, cover, then place three shovelfuls of embers over the lid.  This creates a portable oven.  If you are a stickler for authenticity, measure in approximations and adjust the cornmeal or buttermilk to achieve the proper consistency.

Serve and eat the corn bread when it's hot.  It loses some of its wonderful flavour and texture when it cools down.


3-4 T butter
2 c cornmeal
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 eggs
1 T molasses
2 c buttermilk

1.     In a 375F oven, preheat an 8 inch Dutch oven, both lid and pan, with half the butter inside.
2.    In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, salt, and baking soda, rubbing the mixture between your hands until well combined.
3.    Over the cornmeal mixture, drop the eggs and molasses.  Do NOT stir yet.
4.    When the Dutch oven is hot, add the buttermilk and the remaining butter to the cornmeal.  Stir all the wet ingredients in briskly and BRIEFLY.  Adjust cornmeal or buttermilk if necessary to achieve a consistency of heavy cream.
5.    Pour the batter into the heated Dutch oven.  Cover with heated lid.  Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the corn bread begins to pull away from the sides and is golden brown on top.
6.    Remove from oven and eat immediately.

Serves 6-8.

Recipe courtesy "Gourmet Getaways," written by Joe David, GPP Travel, 2009
Joined Dec 9, 2013
This sounds great! I'll try it.

Do you recommend coarse, medium, or fine corn meal for this recipe?
Last edited:
Joined Aug 2, 2011
When that recipe was written I bet it was course, which I personally prefer too.
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