The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Fat And Cornbread

charbono's picture

Fat And Cornbread


In addition to a generous amount of fat to grease the pan (which I understand), most cornbread recipes call for about 2 tbs of fat per cup of flour or meal in the batter. That's huge! Why? The reasons I've seen include "draws out the flavor of the corn", " keeps it moist", or "not as crumbly". None of those reasons is convincing. What am I missing?




clazar123's picture

It really depends on how you make or like your cornbread. Traditional, deep south cornbread is pretty much corn meal, water or milk, and salt. A little fat if available. Pretty crumbly and dry but meant to soak up  "pot liquor". A lot of saliva needed  to get the corn flavor.

More modern recipes call for a lot of enrichments-milk, fats,sugars or even creamed corn (lots of sugars in that can). "Cornbread" is more cakelike than bread like.

Make it how you like to eat it. I prefer the sweeter,enriched version. A little butter and honey and you have a lot of Yum!

idaveindy's picture

... it's what's for dinner.

charbono's picture

Was just reviewing my 1950 edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book. It has a recipe of Southern cornbread with no added fat (or sugar), but the egg is high, at 1 egg per cup of flour. Its Ohio and Kentucky cornbread recipes have 2 tbs of fat per cup of flour.

The real puzzlers are the black skillet recipes of Anson Mills and Carol Deppe (The Resilient Gardener). Anson and Deppe emphasize appropriate, flavorful, open-pollinated varieties of corn. However, their recipes have so much fat that it would overwhelm the flavor of the corn.

Dunross's picture

There is cornbread and there is cornbread and it can vary quite a lot by the region of the country it originated from.

My family is from the U.S. south so corn bread has been a regular for us since forever.  We don't add additional fat beyond what we use to grease the pan.  Ordinarily a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease, butter, cooking oil, butter, whatever in the pan heated on the stove then pour in the batter (It should sizzle a bit) and into the oven.

They're not strictly necessary, but I like to use eggs in mine, occasionally enough that it becomes more of a spoonbread than a proper cornbread.  Some folks like a tablespoon of sugar or two, others do not.  It's a personal taste.  In MY opinion the one ingredient that is not added is wheat flour in any amount.  Others however grew up doing just that.