Hooray for bread. Perhaps because we took nearly a year off, I still feel insanely intimidated by the prospect of bread. And maybe I feel intimidated because I don't understand the differences well enough yet. Clearly, I need to do some research and actually explore the many bread-making books that I own as I get more into this. But to ease into a new year of bread-making, I went with something relatively simple: cornbread. But I wanted something that used a cast-iron skillet, all Southern style.
This came out all super crispy due to the pre-heating of oil and butter in the cast iron pan, and it wasn't sweet, which made it perfect to match with chili that has three kinds of chili powder and cooks slowly for many many hours....nom nom nom.
- 4 teaspoons bacon drippings or 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal , preferably stone ground
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup water (rapidly boiling)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg , beaten lightly
Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Set 8-inch cast-iron skillet with bacon fat (or vegetable oil) in heating oven.
Measure 1/3 cup cornmeal into medium bowl. Mix remaining cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in small bowl; set aside.
Pour boiling water all at once into the 1/3 cup cornmeal; stir to make a stiff mush. Whisk in buttermilk gradually, breaking up lumps until smooth, then whisk in egg. When oven is preheated and skillet very hot, stir dry ingredients into mush mixture until just moistened. Carefully remove skillet from oven. Pour hot bacon fat (or melted butter) from the skillet into the batter and stir to incorporate, then quickly pour batter into heated skillet. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and instantly turn cornbread onto wire rack; cool for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.