Monday, September 17, 2007


There's a civil war in the cornbread world between the pure crusty Southern type and the fluffy sweet Northern variety. Mennonite cornbread tends to the Northern side of conscientious objection; i.e. whatever kind of cornbread you make, make it with the freshest cornmeal you can obtain, and use a lot of honey. Its instable polyunsaturated oils can transform cornmeal from sublimely sweet to puckeringly rancid in a short period of time. Attend one of those Mennonite relief sales where someone shows off his lovely steam-powered corn grinder and buy yourself as much fresh gold as possible. Store it in the freezer.

My recipe fills two #9 cast iron skillets (if you just found one of the skillets in your basement, be sure to scrub and season it well before using it). I love pouring milk and berries over leftover cornbread, so my recipe calls for lots of honey to keep the bread from drying out. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit and butter your skillets well.

Whisk together 4 c. cornmeal, 2.5 c. white whole-wheat flour, 2 T. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, and 2 tsp. salt. In another bowl, whisk 6 eggs, 1 c. honey, 2 c. whole milk, and 2/3 c. yogurt. Melt 1/2 c. butter in a saucepan. Add the bowl of liquids to the dries, pour the butter over top, combine with a few deft strokes, and pour into the skillets. Bake till golden and pulling away from the edges.

I served this last night with the bean soup. For my lactose-intolerant friends (a.k.a. "lactards"), I used olive oil in place of butter, and water with a couple splashes of vinegar for the milk & yogurt.

Serve cornbread with butter, honey, jam, and maple syrup -- or just crumble it into the soup.

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