Cornbread is a southern staple made from cornmeal. Corn (maize) was an integral part of the diet of Native Americans thousands of years before Europeans learned of the plant.
My daddy would crumble cornbread into a glass of buttermilk and eat it with a spoon; I never acquired the taste. (To this child, buttermilk = sour = yuck!)
My favorite cornbread while growing up was a fried hoecake, with crispy edges, followed neck-to-neck by hush puppies. I associated regular cornbread — like this recipe — with holiday dressing. It would be after I moved to “the north” that I discovered how yummy it is when warm and topped with butter and honey. Blackstrap molasses is divine, too.
Authentic southern cornbread Is Not Sweet! This is a savory bread, despite the fact in today’s south sugar has made its way into the cornbread served at many restaurants. Damn those yankees!
I confess to being seduced by the Tex-Mex influence: I now regularly add canned corn to my cornbread, often add bacon, and sometimes add sharp cheddar cheese. It all depends on the purpose of the dish.
This combination of gluten-free (GF) flours came about through experimentation. Using just a rice-based flour produced a cornbread that was too cake-like for my tastebuds. Using just a bean-based flour yielded a very gritty cornbread, but it browned nicely. The 50-50 mixture mimics my traditional cornbread to a “t”. The gluten-free flours require more liquid than a traditional wheat-based flour. Recommended: Bob’s RedMill and Nameste.
Essentials: large cast-iron frying pan. Buy buttermilk powder if you can’t find fresh buttermilk (increasingly difficult) or if you think you might want to use it in other dishes. For this recipe, you’ll need to reconstitute it; I use water and half-and-half to give it a little more heft.
Substitution: if you’re not making a gluten-free cornbread, just use one cup of all purpose flour (NOT self-rising!). Recommend White Lily. And cut the buttermilk in half.
Organic note: Bob’s Red Mill organic cornmeal is available in major chain stores and is GMO-free. I have developed a sensitivity to both corn and wheat; non-GMO corn seems less abusive to my digestive tract.