← Back to Search Results
baking Southern
Crispy Corn Bread

Photo by: Gentl & Hyers
Comments: 0
 

Recipe

Fine with me if someone puts a half teaspoon of sugar in her corn bread. As long as she calls it “cake,” not "corn bread.”

—Ronni Lundy

Southerners are particular—touchy, even—about their corn bread, at the southern food ways symposium, in Oxford, Mississippi, a tall woman collared Ted, shouting, “I’ve got a bone to pick with you!” We’d recently published a recipe in the New York Times for corn bread and chestnut dressing which used—gasp!—yellow cornmeal. “You gotta use white meal if you’re gonna make real corn bread!” she hollered. Then, in a quieter voice: “Hi, I’m Mindy Merrell.”

For twelve years, Mindy worked in the test kitchen of the Nashville milling company Martha White. She’s made thousands of batches of corn bread, and she knows a lot about how southerners bake. As is often the case with folks who are zealous about their food, we became fast friends, and she told us she would bake us a proper corn bread the next time we were in Nashville. A year later we passed through Music City and took her up on the offer. Our expectations were high, and of course she exceeded them, and forever changed the way we cook corn bread.

Mindy’s version has an emphatic corn flavor and the textbook caramelized crust, but its genius lies in the way it manages to double the crispiness of the bread while remaining perfectly moist. And it has nothing to do with chemistry (or color of the meal) but everything to do with skillet size. Mindy bakes a single six-serving batch in a 12-inch skillet instead of a 9-incher, so the batter lies thinner in the pan. The bread bakes up only about a half-inch thick, which means the crust-to-crumb ratio is quite high. It’s a thin, elegant flatbread, and if you start baking it daily, you just might make up for all those thick, Sahara-dry corn-bread bricks you’ve eaten.

Yield: For 6 people
Cooking time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon lard or unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ cups whole or low fat buttermilk (preferably whole)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

 

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease a 12-inch skillet with the lard, leaving any excess in the pan, and place it in the oven.

2. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until frothy and then whisk in the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix thoroughly. Melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat, and whisk the butter into the batter.

3. When the fat in the large skillet is smoking, carefully remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the fat around to coat the bottom and sides evenly. Pour the batter into the skillet; it should sizzle alluringly. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden brown and the edge has pulled away from the side of the skillet. Remove from the oven.

4. Cut the corn bread into 6 wedges in the skillet and serve hot.

Notes

You can use white cornmeal if you wish. We use yellow more often than not.


© 2006 Martens Maxwell Inc.
 

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

234kcal (12%)
125mg (12%)
1mg (1%)
69mcg RAE (2%)
226mg
48mg
7g
4g
4g
31g
53mg (18%)
563mg (23%)
5g (23%)
9g (14%)
1mg (8%)
 

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.
 

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

the-south-american-table-the-flavor-and-soul-of-authentic-home-cooking-from-patagonia-to-rio-de-janeiro-with-450-recipes The South American Table: T...
by Maria Baez Kijac
big-fat-cookies Big Fat Cookies
by Elinor Klivans
chez-panisse-fruit Chez Panisse Fruit
by Alice Waters
david-rosengarten-entertains-fabulous-parties-for-food-lovers David Rosengarten Entertain...
by David Rosengarten
the-bread-bible The Bread Bible
by Rose Levy Beranbaum
american-masala American Masala
by Suvir Saran
gluten-free-and-vegan-holidays Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays
by Jennifer Katzinger
ham-an-obsession-with-the-hindquarter Ham: An Obsession with the ...
by Bruce Weinstein, Mark Scarbrough
young-and-hungry-more-than-100-recipes-for-cooking-fresh-and-affordable-food-for-everyone Young and Hungry: More Than...
by Dave Lieberman
a-bakers-odyssey A Baker's Odyssey
by Andrew Schloss
the-splendid-tables-how-to-eat-weekends The Splendid Table's How to...
by Sally Swift, Lynne Rosetto Kasper
the-country-cooking-of-ireland The Country Cooking of Ireland
by Colman Andrews
125-best-cupcake-recipes 125 Best Cupcake Recipes
by Julie Hasson
the-whole-beast-nose-to-tail-eating The Whole Beast: Nose to Ta...
by Fergus Henderson
rice Rice
by Bonnie Tandy Leblang, Joanne Lamb Hayes
in-the-kitchen-with-david In the Kitchen with David
by David Venable
Already a member? Click here to Log In
close

Sign up to Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new Cookstr features and tools







By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Spinner
New to Cookstr? Click here to Sign Up
close


Forgot your password? Click here
close
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?