Cheerful and sunny enough to warm your bones on even the coldest of days. Although I usually prefer a simple, sweet loaf baked up in comforting cast-iron...there's just something so primal about a simple, unsweetened disk. With eyes closed, it transports me to the campfires of my ancestors with one earthy bite. I love a good muffin studded with smoky bites of bacon. Gooey, sharp cheese is always a delight. Perhaps a hint of green from blades of chives or even scallions. How about the heat from fire-roasted chiles that marries so well with each bite of corn? While I will be making a yeasted bread with corn later on this month, I also wanted to show the glory of a good ol' baking powder leavened cornbread. This one is about as basic as it gets. If you're not an unadorned cornbread kinda diner...then think hard before you make this one. No sugar. No heat. No smoke. No sharp. No green. Just naked corn...in all its glory.
Plain and Simple
Plain and Simple
from the River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens
makes 1 small "loaf"
2 c. (8.8oz/250g) cornmeal
2½ tsp. (.35 oz/10g) baking powder
1 tsp. (.18 oz/5g) fine salt
2 Tbs. bacon fat
½ c. milk
½ c. yogurt
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place a medium heavy-bottomed, ovenproof frying pan over medium heat to warm up.
Meanwhile, mix the cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Melt 1 Tbs. bacon fat in a small saucepan. Gently whisk milk and yogurt together, then stir into same pan. Warm through, then pour onto dry ingredients and stir it all together.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of fat in the warmed frying pan, then immediately pour in the cornmeal mixture. Let cook for one minute, then transfer to oven and bake ~20 minutes, until firm and golden. Eat right away or let cool.
I followed Stevens' suggestion and fried the cornbread, cut first into strips, in some bacon fat (from bacon just cooked in same pan), then added a knob of butter and a handful of chopped onion to the pan to get soft and golden. Then I threw in some blanched corn kernels and warmed the whole thing through. Serve it all together with warm maple syrup drizzled over everything and a good cracking of fresh black pepper. Down home goodness. Next time I will make sure I have bourbon for sipping alongside. If only I had a swing and a big country porch.
Bread Baking Day #36: "CORN"y Breads which I am hosting this month.