I’ve noticed that every once in awhile, the same food will pop up on several blogs all around the same time. I don’t know if it is something in the air, or something about the time of year, but every time happens, I crave that food that I see popping up. Awhile back it was lasagna. Then biscuits. And then it was corn bread. It’s amazing to read about what everyone prefers when it comes to foods like these. It’s like the great chili debate – some people swear by no-beans chili, and others have to have the beans. Well, after seeing all of the corn bread posts pop up, I started to get that craving for corn bread, and I am pretty particular about my corn bread. I like it a little sweet, and I like it with some corn kernels whole inside the bread. So after I bought The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, I saw the corn bread recipe and knew that it was one that I was going to try.
I really wanted to make this when this book was my choice for Cookbook of the Month. But I passed it over, feeling like I should challenge myself with the yeast breads. This is the only non-yeast bread in this cookbook, but I am very glad that it was included. This corn bread is right up my alley!! Peter Reinhart states –
I have an ongoing love affair with good corn bread. By good I mean moist and sweet, with crunch and texture. This recipe is my favorite, and it is the best corn bread I have ever made or eaten.
I’d have to say I’m right there with him! This corn bread has everything I look for in a good corn bread, with the added bonus of bacon. (And we all know that bacon makes everything better!!)
The bacon is sprinkled on top, but for some reason, about half of my bacon sunk into the batter while cooking. Not that I’m complaining – it was nice to find some hidden pieces of bacon throughout!! Just a warning, though. Although this is classified as a “quick bread”, you do have to start the soaker the day before.
So, just out of curiosity, how do you like your corn bread?
from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
1 cup coarse cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
8 ounces bacon (approximately 10 slices)
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons bacon fat or vegetable oil
The night before baking the corn bread, soak the cornmeal in the buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.
The next day, to prepare the bacon, preheat the oven to 375F. Lay the bacon on 2 sheet pans, and bake until the bacon is crisp – about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the bacon to paper towels to cool. Drain the fat into a can or bowl – save to grease the pan. When the bacon has cooled, crumble it into pieces.
Lower the oven to 350F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Dissolve the honey in the melted butter and stir the warm honey-butter mixture into the eggs. Add this to the cornmeal mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is blended and smooth. It should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Stir in the corn kernels.
Place 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in to a 10-inch round cake pan (or I used a cast iron pan). Place the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the fat is very hot. Remove the pan using pot holders and tilt it to grease all of the corners and sides. Pour in the batter, spreading it from the center to the sides. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon evenly over the top, gently pressing them into the batter.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the bread is firm and springy (the baking time will depend on the pan used) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the bread to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Slice into squares or wedges. Serve warm.