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Buttermilk Corn Bread

In a bread this simple, the quality of the ingredients shows. Stone-ground cornmeal is more perishable, since it contains the germ of the corn, but its coarser texture and more intense corn flavor make it a good choice here. Look for it in well-stocked supermarkets and in natural-foods stores.

Serve the corn bread on its own, or use it as the main ingredient in our Corn Bread Dressing with Oysters and Ham (see related recipe at right).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal, preferably stone ground
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature, well beaten
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and
     cooled slightly

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan.

In a large bowl, thoroughly stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix together the buttermilk, eggs and butter until just combined. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture until just combined. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Bake until the edges of the corn bread are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand in the pan for at least 5 minutes.

Place a baking sheet over the pan, carefully invert the pan and sheet, and let the corn bread fall onto the sheet. Cut into squares and serve hot or warm. Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Thanksgiving, by Michael McLaughlin (Simon & Schuster, 2001).