In some parts of America, cornbread is the other half of chilli & chilli con carne. It is a loftier relative to firm baked polenta from the bread part of the family and ideally comes with a really nice crispy crust. A lot of times it is even more akin to cake than bread, which was way to sweet for me and I thought, what a shame, not my thing.
Then comes the day when your husband starts using your food blog as an online ordering menu and pokes you to have one of his favourites again & again dropping not so subtle hints “These meatballs are a great Friday (or insert respective day here) food, aren’t they?” You might want to retain a little bit of the autocratic reign you have had over dinner choices for a long time and determine there needs to be at least a new side dish, so what about cornbread? Not sweet but savoury and I have been dying to use these pretty moulds for a long time, see, I have a tiny kitchen stuff-shopping habit, only useful things, naturally, I do not fall for everything & I logged them back from the States & they needed to be used & aren’t they really nice? They do have the advantage to maximise the crispy crust and finally, we like cornbread. Psst, I have seen them in England & Germany, too (in US & Mexican online shops, Camping or Outdoor shops, Amazon). Moulds = Molds.
I experimented with two sources, settled for Liza Fain’s version but shortened an already short recipe which means that I added egg & buttermilk directly to the flours without premixing, extended the baking time & lowered the temperature to get an even bake and do not burn the small ears. If you are using a cast-iron skillet, you should follow Liza (The Homesick Texan) and up the temp to 230°C or 450° F.
makes 18 ears or 1 skillet, slightly adapted from the Homesick Texan’s cornbread
2 cups of cornmeal (Maismehl)
½ cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons oil, heated
butter to grease the moulds / molds
2 cast-iron cornbread moulds / molds (mine are Lodge, for 9 ears) or a cast-iron skillet (10 inches)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400° F) or 180°C fan oven. Place the empty cast-iron moulds into the oven for a few minutes to heat them.
In a bowl, mix the flours with baking powder and salt. Add the egg and buttermilk, whisk, add the hot oil and whisk again to a thick batter. Take the moulds out of the oven, brush each indentation with a little butter and spoon in the batter. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the crust is lightly browned and crisp, turning & switching them around halfway through the baking time.