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December 5, 2019
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The Holy Grail of cornbread | The Mixing Bowl

Somewhere between cake and bread, this loaf is light, sweet and great to serve with soup or toasted for breakfast. It also could be an easy to make and portable contribution to a potluck Thanksgiving Dinner.

I have been searching for years for cornbread that isn’t too dry and can be made in a loaf pan. This is it. It’s from Susan Pridmore’s webpage, The Wimpy Vegetarian. 

I prefer a loaf rather than squares because slices have less crust and more moist bread. After having served the warm bread, I cut the loaf in slices and freeze it. It is easy to take out just one slice and throw it in the toaster. It is excellent served with a fried egg. 

Buttermilk is a special ingredient that really improves the loft of quick breads like biscuits and pancakes, and adds a slightly sour taste. However, it is difficult to keep around because it is usually sold in quart containers and has to be used up so it doesn’t go bad. That means baking and eating a lot of biscuits and pancakes in a short period of time. However, you can buy powdered buttermilk that lasts a long time. Bob’s Red Mills makes Sweet Cream Buttermilk Powder that uses one part powder to seven parts water. I get it at Staff of Life in Santa Cruz, but soon to be in Watsonville in East Lake Village Shopping Center in Spring 2020. 

Easy buttermilk cornbread

1 cup medium coarse cornmeal 

1 cup 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter melted, plus more for the loaf pan

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a medium loaf pan. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Melt the butter in small saucepan or in the microwave oven in a microwave-safe dish. Let it cool.  Pour into a medium bowl and whisk in the sugar. Then add eggs and buttermilk, and continue to whisk until well blended. Stir in the cornmeal mixture. There will be some lumps, but that’s fine. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. It helps to cover the bread with foil in the last 10 minutes of baking to help keep the cornbread moist, and help it to bake more evenly. It is done when a toothpick or bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing. Run a sharp knife around the cornbread, separating it from the sides of the pan. Flip it out onto a cutting board for easy slicing.

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Sarah Ringler is a retired schoolteacher. She worked as a cook for 8 years before being a teacher, and also taught a cooking class at Pajaro Middle School for several years. She comes from a long line of serious cooks and passed the tradition on to her children, grandchildren, students and, hopefully, her readers.