The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Do I need 10 strips of bacon...

kensbread01's picture

Do I need 10 strips of bacon...

for making cornbread?   I'm thinking of substituting turkey bacon and reducing the about the maybe 6 strips.  Too much bad fat cannot be good.  Also it calls for a tablespoon of bacon grease.  Perhaps I can use butter instead without killing the flavor.

I'm using Peter Reinhart's recipe I found in his Baker's Apprentice book.

mrfrost's picture

There must be hundreds of recipes for cornbread, and most without bacon and/or bacon fat.

Why not just find one more to your liking. I make cornbread all the time(I live in southern US) and I choose one that only uses vegetable oil. This is mainly because I prefer to get my "unhealthy calories" from other foods(like pizza, etc).

But if you do insist on that recipe, you surely can use melted butter and the turkey bacon. It just ceases to be Peter's recipe, especially if judged to be "not good".

Or try making it as prescribed one time, then compare your healthier versions.


DavidEF's picture

The bacon is not needed at all, if you don't want it. You could look around and find a recipe that doesn't call for any bacon or bacon fat. As far as the flavor, you'll have to decide for yourself. I love bacon flavor, but I've never used bacon to make cornbread. The cornbread I've made always tastes like - bread - made out of corn! I happen to like it that way. Some people prefer it to taste like cake, and apparently some want it to taste like bacon. There is also a difference in flavor from white corn meal to yellow.

If you do decide you want bacon flavored cornbread, I would recommend following the recipe at least the first time. Then, you will know whether you like it that way or if you think you could change it successfully. If you have time and inclination, you could make a partial batch for testing. Maybe make a half a batch, with 5 strips of bacon, and the required bacon fat. You may find it doesn't turn out to be so much as it appears from reading it in the recipe, and you need/want every bit of 10 strips for a whole batch!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

about the cornbread!  Bacon is great stuff and eating it without the carbohydrates is even better!   

Have you tried Floyd's cornbread posted on TFL?  No bacon.  

kensbread01's picture

I'm from the Midwest, Illinois to be specific and I've never even tasted cornbread with bacon.  And did I mention brown sugar, buttermilk, etc...   It is probably a very rich fat/carbo snack cake.  I wanted to try this recipe just to see how it would taste since I'm in the mood to experiment.   Thanks for all the suggestions, I think I will stick with the turkey bacon idea and see what it end up like.   Maybe even post some pics here..

Ford's picture

Here is my recipe for "Southern Cornbread".  Make substitutions at your own risk, as DavidEF says.

Corn Bread


See recipe for Cornmeal Pancakes or recipe for Cornpone (double this one).  Leftover batter may be refrigerated for as long as a day.  Preheat oven to 400°F.  For best results, use a cast iron skillet.  Place the skillet in the preheated oven for five minutes.  Add about two tablespoons of bacon fat (vegetable oil can be used) to the hot skillet and tilt the pan to grease the sides and bottom.  Pour the batter into the hot greased skillet then place it into the preheated oven.  Bake at 400°F for about 30 - 45 minutes or until firm and brown on top.  An instant reading thermometer inserted to the center should read 200°F.  If a glass or lightweight baking dish is used, do not preheat the dish in the oven.  However, be sure the dish is well greased before adding the batter.




Cornmeal Pancakes



2 extra large eggs (or jumbo size), separated and at room temperature

1/4 tspn. cream of tartar

1 Tbs. sugar

1/3 cup (2.7 oz.) vegetable oil (or melted bacon fat)

1 tspn. salt

2 tspn. double acting baking powder

1/2 tspn. baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

1 1/2 cup (7.3 oz.) white corn meal

1/2 cup (2 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups (16 oz.) buttermilk

(1/4 tspn. mace – gives a distinctive flavor)



Place the room temperature egg whites in a clean stainless steel, or copper, or glass, or glazed pottery bowl (not plastic).  Add the cream of tartar and the sugar.  Whip the egg whites until firm peaks will form.  A wire whisk is best for this.  (If grease or egg yolk is present the whites will not whip easily.  The possible presence of grease is the reason for not using plastic for whipping egg whites)

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are a light yellow color.  Gradually beat in the oil until homogeneous mixture results.  Stir in the baking powder, salt, baking soda, and, if you wish, mace.  Add the corn meal, the flour, and the buttermilk, then beat until smooth.  Fold in the beaten egg whites.  Do not over mix.  Let the batter stand at room temperature for about one hour or longer.

Bake as griddle cakes on a hot griddle, turning only once when the bubbles appear on the surface.  Serve piping hot with melted, real butter and hot, real maple syrup.

Leftover batter may be poured into a greased baking dish, refrigerated for as long as a day, and baked at 400°F for about 30 - 45 minutes or until firm and brown on top.  May also be baked as cornpone.

This recipe was inspired by the corn cakes my Grandfather Thompson made when I (Ford) was a child.  It has gone through many metamorphoses since I first tried to recreate the result.  My brother, Tommy, says that Granddad would laugh at all the steps in this one.  I am sure he would, but this is NOT his recipe.  I will say that his were thinner; these are lighter.


DavidEF's picture


I'm from the Midwest too, and I would never THINK of eating turkey bacon! Something's just not right about that! I love pork, whether it be bacon, ham, sausage, whatever. Bacon does have a distinctive flavor that I doubt turkey bacon can even come close to, but we are all free to make our own bread. Please do tell us how it goes, and post pics.


I used to work at a bacon processing plant, where my coworkers swore I would learn to loathe bacon for life. The company gave us a pack of bacon every Monday afternoon, so I really was "bringin' home the bacon" and it always got fried up as soon as I got home. If others were around, sometimes I shared. Having said all that, I do like my cornbread too. I just haven't ever had bacon IN my cornbread!

kensbread01's picture

Everyone who tasted this recipe agreed it was good.  However comments varied, with the confusion, is a breakfast treat or a dinner bread?  Is it a sweet bread or a salty one??.   I liked the bacon and the combination of sweet and salty.  Canned corn was added to Polenta to make the base flour.  I wish I could post the rest of the ingredients but do not have it online, came from book and was talked about as the best recipe ever for cornbread.  Next time I plan to use pork bacon, not turkey bacon to add more flavor, then run around the block three times to compensate for all the calories.  Need to upload some images...


btw:  Thanks for the tip about using cast iron skillet.  Worked perfectly!

Antilope's picture


Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice Corn Bread - %

Baker's Percentage Formula

All-purpose flour.....57.1%
Baking powder.........5.44%
Baking soda.............0.36%
Brown sugar...........14.3%
Bacon fat...................7.1%


link to Peter Reinhart's - Bread Baker's Apprentice - Corn Bread recipe