Basic southern cornbread

  • About 40 minutes, mostly unattended.

This is an all-corn, unsweetened cornbread. You must use fine-ground meal; coarse-ground meal never fully cooks, and without some flour to smooth it out, the bread is crumbly and gritty. Look for “stone ground” or “water ground” on the package, and you will probably need to buy white cornmeal, since yellow is usually coarser.

    • 3 tablespoons butter

    Heat the oven to 375°. Place the butter in an 8- or 9-inch cast-iron skillet and let it melt while the oven heats up.

    • 2 cups fine stone-ground cornmeal
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt

    Whisk together.

    • 2 eggs
    • 2 cups buttermilk

    In a second bowl, beat the eggs until light. Stir in the buttermilk.

  1. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. I find a wire whip useful for this; with cornmeal there’s no gluten, so you don’t have to worry about making the bread tough by overmixing.

  2. Pour the batter into the skillet with the melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes.

  3. Let cool in the skillet for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. (The cornbread will shrink a bit in the first few minutes and release from the pan, but if it sits too long in the pan it will get soggy and stick again.)