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Corn Bread with Cheddar, Jalapeno and Green Onions

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, milk or yogurt (or 1 1/4 cups milk and 1 tablespoon white vinegar — see Step 2 below) plus more as need
  • 2 tablespoons butter, olive oil, lard or bacon drippings
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 7 ounces) medium-grind cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, plus more if you like sweet cornbread
  • 1 eggs

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. If you are using buttermilk, milk or yogurt, ignore this step. If you want to use soured milk (a good substitute for buttermilk), warm the milk gently --one minute in the microwave is sufficient, just enough to take the chill off-- and add the vinegar. Let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Place the fat in a medium oven-proof skillet or in an 8-inch square baking pan over medium heat (Note: would you believe I lack both? I used three of my mini-loaf pans); heat until good and hot, about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the egg into the buttermilk, milk or soured milk. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients, combining well; if it seems too dry, add another tablespoon or two of milk. Pour the batter into the preheated fat, smooth out the top if necessary, and place in the oven.
  4. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown and the sides have pulled away from the pan; a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. Serve hot or warm.
  5. Optional additions I used: One cup canned creamed corn, one cup grated extra-sharp cheddar, two thinly sliced scallions, and 1 tablespoon chili powder, but only because the store was out of jalapenos. I usually mince one in.
  6. Optional additions I didn’t use: 1 tablespoon cumin (instead of chili powder); 1 cup fresh corn (instead of creamed); molasses or honey, in place of the sugar, about 1/4 cup; minced herbs such as cilantro or fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons; sautéed onions, shallots or leeks, about 1/2 cup.

Source: Adapted from Mark Bittman by Smitten Kitchen

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