Who doesn’t like cornbread? Ok I guess some people don’t. But I sure do. Cornmeal is so hearty and pioneer-y. And cornbread is historically, traditionally, blissfully simple. When you’re heading west in a rickety covered wagon, you don’t have time to fuss over proofing times and kneading (I know from Oregon Trail). So this bread is a straightforward, Betty-Crocker-esque, mix n’ bake prototype.
I guess you can bake it in a brownie pan or something, but I like it a lot better out of a cast iron skillet. Something about how the cast iron evenly heats and cooks the batter. Does it really change the taste? Probably not by any drastic measure. But if you’re looking for ooo’s and ah’s from dinner guests, cast iron skillet bread really packs a memorable punch.
This recipe is from my favorite children’s cookbook, the Fannie Farmer Junior Cookbook. You basically sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl and then stir in the cornbread. Set this aside. Using an electric mixer and a separate bowl, beat one egg vigorously for about a minute, and then stir in the melted butter and the milk. Make sure the melted butter isn’t scorching hot when you mix it in or else you’ll get scrambled eggs!
Add the wet ingredient mixture to your sifted dry ingredients, stir it all together, and pour the batter into a well-buttered cast iron skillet. This bakes in a 425⁰ oven for 18-20 minutes, depending on the size and depth of your skillet. It is done when an inserted fork comes out smooth.
Since the skillet remains hot even after it’s out of the oven, you might want to remove the bread to a cooling rack so that it doesn’t continue cooking. If you’re eating the bread right away, you can serve it right in the skillet.
It is delicious fresh and hot from the oven, or toasted with butter later on in the week. If you don’t finish the bread before it stales, cornbread croutons are delicious in soup or salads. Just dice the bread into small pieces, and toast them in a 350⁰ oven for 7 minutes. You could also try soaking pieces of stale cornbread in milk and cooking them on a griddle like French toast. This makes a delicious breakfast!
Have fun and happy eating!
- 1 cup flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal (I used Indian Head)
- 2 tablespoons of butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of milk
- Extra butter for greasing the skillet