I often get carried away with seeking out new recipes and completely forget about sharing the tried-and-true staples that I make on a regular basis. Maybe it’s because they don’t seem exciting enough. Maybe it’s because recipes like southern cornbread are so familiar to me that I assume everyone else has a recipe and also makes it on a regular basis.
This cornbread isn’t the least bit sweet which is a departure for this blog, but it is one of my favorite baked goods so that’s why I’m sharing it here. Just like my grandmother’s buttermilk biscuits, the recipe is simple and made with very few ingredients.
You’ll need some good all-purpose yellow stone-ground cornmeal, buttermilk, eggs, butter, salt and baking leavens. You can make this bread in a 10-inch cake tin with deep sides (like a spring-form pan), but a 10-inch cast-iron skillet is going to yield the best, crispiest cornbread crust. I suggest you use one if at all possible. I like to have the oven pre-heated and all of the ingredients measured and ready to hand before I stir the batter together. First thing, put the skillet in the oven while you prepare the batter.
After the butter is melted, reserve one tablespoon for greasing the skillet. Sometimes I use a tablespoon of bacon fat, so you can omit this step if you happen to have that on hand.
Mix the dry ingredients together.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
Stir together with a wooden spoon.
Remember that reserved tablespoon of butter? Pour it into the hot skillet and brush it around so that the entire interior of the skillet is coated with butter. (Same technique applies if you’re using bacon fat.)
Pour the batter into the pan. It will almost completely fill a 10-inch cast-iron skillet to the top, which may make you nervous about the batter overflowing while baking, but it won’t –I promise! My cornbread usually takes about 25 to 30 minutes to cook through at 375°F.
Just look! This recipe makes the tallest, fluffiest cornbread with the perfect crumble.
Sometimes I’ll eat a warm slice stuffed with salted butter for dinner and nothing else! Although we like it with a bowl of chili, I also like the southern tradition of crumbling it into a tall glass of milk and eating it like cereal (I know, so weird!).
This type of unsweet cornbread should always be enjoyed warm (unless you’re trying my cornbread-in-milk treat). Slices re-heat well in the microwave at 20-30 seconds cook time, or you can stuff slices with butter and wrap them in foil before re-heating them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350°F.
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, I use and recommend this one for this recipe.
Yellow Buttermilk Cornbread (Southern-style, unsweet.)
- 10 inch cast iron skillet
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3 cups 525g all-purpose stone ground yellow corn meal (I like Hodgson Mill)
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons salt I like fine grain sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. When the oven is preheated, place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven while you prepare the batter.
- Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Set aside one tablespoon of the melted butter.
- Whisk the eggs together well in a medium bowl and pour in the buttermilk; stir until well mixed.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the corn meal, baking powder, soda and salt. Add the buttermilk mixture and melted butter; stir together with a wooden spoon.
- Open the oven door and pull out the oven rack with the cast-iron pan on it. Carefully pour in the 1 tablespoon reserved butter and brush the pan until the interior is completely covered. (Please pay attention that your forearms do not touch the oven rack to avoid burns – been there too many times!) Pour the batter into the pan; the batter will sizzle. It’s okay if the batter looks a little ragged on top. Just smooth it evenly the best that you can with the wooden spoon.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Serve slices warm with salted butter.
- Slices re-heat well in the microwave at 20-30 seconds cook time, or you can stuff slices with butter and wrap them in foil before re-heating them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350°F.