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HOMEMADE CORNBREAD FROM SCRATCH

Cornbread, a staple in many cultures worldwide, holds a special place in American cuisine. Its rich history intertwines with the stories of ...

Cornbread, a staple in many cultures worldwide, holds a special place in American cuisine. Its rich history intertwines with the stories of Native Americans, European settlers, and African Americans, each leaving an indelible mark on its evolution.

Native American Origins: A Cornbread Legacy

Cornbread's roots can be traced back to the Native Americans, who were among the first to cultivate and utilize maize, or corn, as a primary food source. They developed various techniques to process and prepare corn, including grinding it into meal and using it to make a simple bread called "pone." This early form of cornbread was often cooked over open fires or in earthen pots.

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Native American cornbread
European Influences: A Culinary Fusion

The arrival of European settlers in the Americas brought about a fusion of culinary traditions. Europeans introduced wheat flour, leavening agents like yeast, and baking techniques, which influenced the development of cornbread. These additions resulted in a lighter, airier cornbread, distinct from the denser, unleavened form made by Native Americans.

African American Contributions: A Flavorful Heritage

African Americans played a significant role in shaping cornbread's evolution. They brought their culinary traditions from West Africa, incorporating ingredients like sorghum and millet into cornbread recipes. They also introduced techniques like hoecake cooking, where cornmeal batter is fried in hot oil or fat. These contributions enriched the diversity of cornbread variations and flavors.

Regional Variations: A Culinary Tapestry

As cornbread spread across the United States, it took on regional distinctions, reflecting the diverse culinary influences and preferences of different areas. In the South, cornbread became a staple, often served alongside fried chicken, collard greens, and other soul food dishes. In the Northeast, johnnycakes, a thin, flat cornbread cooked on a griddle, gained popularity. And in the Southwest, cornbread incorporated local ingredients like chiles and peppers, adding a unique flavor profile.

Homemade Cornbread: A Tradition Endures

Despite the availability of commercially produced cornbread, homemade cornbread remains a cherished tradition in many households. The act of making cornbread from scratch evokes a sense of nostalgia, connection to family heritage, and the satisfaction of creating something delicious and wholesome with one's own hands.

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Homemade cornbread
Today, cornbread continues to evolve, with new recipes and variations emerging all the time. From classic buttermilk cornbread to creative twists with added ingredients like cheese, jalapeƱos, or even sweet fruits, cornbread's versatility and adaptability ensure its enduring place in American cuisine.

CORNBREAD FROM SCRATCH! It is incredibly EASY to make, made with cornmeal, flour, and sugar. It’s sweet, savory, and ready in under 45 minutes! This is a great recipe for chili night, or when you have a crowd of people over because it’s really easy to double this recipe and make a big batch.


You can make this recipe ahead, but I would try to make it on the same day, warmed in the oven before serving or making cornbread stuffing.


YOU'LL NEED:

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup whole milk

1 cup flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 large egg

1/3 cup unsalted butter melted


HOW TO MAKE:


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking pan.

Mix the cornmeal and milk in a large bowl and let soak for 10 minutes.


 Add in the remaining ingredients and whisk well then pour them into the baking pan and bake for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.


HOW TO MAKE CORNBREAD FLUFFY:


Trade the milk for buttermilk to help the baking powder get the best rise possible.

If you don’t have buttermilk, add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the milk and let it sit for a few minutes.


Be sure that the baking powder you are using is fresh. Old baking powder doesn’t work as well.


Check your oven with an oven-safe thermometer to make sure you are cooking at the right temperature.

Let the cornmeal soak with the milk for ten minutes before mixing the ingredients together. This really does make a difference in the recipe.


YOU CAN ALSO MAKE CORNBREAD IN A CAST IRON SKILLET:


YES, You can make this cornbread recipe in a cast iron skillet for a crispy crust with a soft light center. When melting the butter, you can also let it keep cooking to get a browned butter skillet cornbread recipe with more flavor.


Bring the skillet up to high heat, then melt two tablespoons of butter in the skillet.

Pour the batter into the skillet, and transfer the skillet to the oven at 400 degrees. It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CORNMEAL AND CORN FLOUR?


Corn flour is basically a finer ground version of cornmeal. Cornmeal is used to make dishes like polenta or grits, while corn flour is used for thickening soups or puddings.


For this recipe, you want to use cornmeal because that’s what gives this cornbread recipe its texture.


NOTE: This cornbread recipe can be wrapped tightly and stored on the counter for 1-2 days. Any more than that and the bread will have to be refrigerated or frozen. Cornbread will freeze well for 2-3 months.