Best Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

Best Buttermilk Cornbread

Here’s my adaptation of a recipe that will absolutely be the best buttermilk cornbread you have ever tasted.

I promised in my last post that I’d share the recipe I use that makes the best buttermilk cornbread, using freshly ground cornmeal. This recipe will also work fine using stone ground cornmeal from the grocery store, but if you have access to your own freshly ground cornmeal made from popcorn, you will be amazed by the fresh, sweet, nutty difference in flavor! It really is amazingly better!

I grew up eating beans and cornbread every Wednesday night – Wednesday night was church night, don’tchaknow, and Mom needed something quick and easy before she shooed us out the door and into the car for church. When I grew up, I immediately discontinued the habit of beans before church…and I’ll leave it to you, if you’d like to take a guess as to why…

Years later, with Mom in heaven and unable to share her cornbread recipe, I resorted to the cornbread recipe I found in my Southern Living cookbook, which made a reasonable facsimile of Mom’s cornbread. And then, I found Nancy Vienneau’s WONDERFUL cookbook, Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook. It is my understanding that Nancy, a chef and food writer from Nashville, hosted potlucks for foodies for years, and having collected their wonderful recipes, she put together this cookbook that has become one of my favorites! I decided that since very often, Foodie Knows Best, I would try the cornbread recipe in Nancy’s cookbook entitled Maggie’s Best Skillet Buttermilk Cornbread.  I altered it only slightly, in that I use my own freshly ground cornmeal.  I LOVED it! It differed from the Southern Living Recipe in that it had the addition of half a cup of flour, as well as more oil, more buttermilk, and a little more sugar. 

Two important recipe notes. First, you bake this in a cast iron skillet. I will entertain no discussion on this matter. As far as I’m concerned, it’s non-negotiable. Secondly, the recipe calls for buttermilk, but I never keep buttermilk in stock in my fridge, and always make my own by adding 1 T. vinegar (or lemon juice) to each cup of milk. Thus, for this recipe, I make my buttermilk first, as I’m assembling my ingredients. I put 3 T. of vinegar into my measuring cup, and then fill with milk to the 3 c. marker. I let it sit for 10 minutes or so, and it’s ready to be used in the recipe.

I thought you might appreciate seeing a few of the steps pictured:

Make a well in mixed dry ingredients.

Make a well in mixed dry ingredients.

Eggs that have been cracked into the well in the cornmeal.

Eggs that have been cracked into the well in the cornmeal.

Mixing eggs in well of dry ingredients.

Mixing eggs in well of dry ingredients.

The batter will be somewhat lumpy.

The batter will be somewhat lumpy.

Adding oil into batter.

Adding oil into batter.

Adding batter into skillet. The hot oil that is in the skillet will sizzle around the edges.

Adding batter into skillet. The hot oil that is in the skillet will sizzle around the edges.

Turn the cornbread out onto parchment paper.

Turn the cornbread out onto parchment paper.

Best Buttermilk Cornbread, halved.

Best Buttermilk Cornbread, halved.

Best Buttermilk Cornbread, Served.

Best Buttermilk Cornbread, Served.

The Recipe: 

Best Buttermilk Cornbread
A deliciously moist and tender cornbread, with a beautiful crispy crust, that is especially flavorful if made from freshly ground cornmeal.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 c. freshly ground cornmeal from popcorn (stoneground is OK)
  2. 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  3. 2 t. salt
  4. 2 t. sugar
  5. 1 t. baking soda
  6. 1/2 c. canola oil
  7. 2 eggs, at room temperature
  8. 3 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425º. Place a 9" cast iron skillet into the oven to preheat while the oven preheats.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda until the ingredients are well blended. When the oven has reached 425º, remove the skillet. Pour the vegetable oil into the skillet, and return it to the oven so the oil will get hot.
  3. Make a well in the cornmeal mixture. Add the eggs and lightly beat. Pour in the buttermilk. Stir well until all the ingredients are combined, but do not overbeat. It's fine for the batter to be somewhat lumpy.
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven. Pour half of the oil into the batter and whisk until well combined. Pour the batter into the skillet. Place the skillet in the center of the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Turn the cornbread out onto parchment paper to preserve the crispness of the crust.
Notes
  1. Make your own buttermilk substitute by adding three tablespoons of vinegar to a 4 c. measuring cup, and filling with milk to the 3 c. line.
Adapted from Nancy Vienneau: Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook
That Susan Williams https://www.thatsusanwilliams.com/

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