Wholegrain Cornbread

I’m a west coast granola-girl and have come up with my own California twist on cornbread, a quintessential American side dish.

Cornbread in cast iron skillet
Wholegrain Cornbread in cast iron skillet

There are two main types of cornbread:  Southern and Northern.  Southern cornbread is savory and made with all or nearly all cornmeal.  Northern cornbread is lightly fluffy and sweet, and often made with a substantial portion of wheat flour.  My complaint with either version is the use of refined grains.

Wholegrain Cornbread Slices
Wholegrain Cornbread Slices

My version is a hybrid, with a nutrition boost from the use of all whole grain flours.  I keep it especially moist by combining the cornmeal with boiling water before mixing with the other ingredients.  This moist cornbread has a tasty brown crust from the hot buttered skillet, and is equally at home when paired with honey or a savory pot of chili.

Wholegrain Cornbread crust
Wholegrain Cornbread crust

For a fabulous breakfast, microwave some pieces of leftover cornbread with milk in a bowl and top with a drizzle of maple syrup and walnuts for a breakfast that will power you through til lunch.  Enjoy!

Wholegrain Cornbread

1 cup (6 oz) wholegrain cornmeal
5 oz boiling water
1 cup (5 oz) wholewheat pastry flour*
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
3 TB sugar
1 large egg
1 cup and 2 TB (9 oz) buttermilk
5 TB melted butter, divided

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  While you are preparing the batter, heat an 8 inch cast iron skillet** until just beginning to smoke.  Pan should be hot when the batter is ready.  If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, you may substitute a 8 inch square baking pan.

Put cornmeal in a small mixing bowl.  Pour the boiling water onto the cornmeal and mix until it forms a very thick mixture.  It’s OK if there are a few dry cornmeal grains left after mixing.  Set aside.

Mix wholewheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.  Add egg, buttermilk, 3 TB of melted butter, and the cornmeal/water mixture.  Mix with a spoon until just blended.

Pour 2 TB melted butter into the hot cast iron skillet and then immediately put in the thick batter.  Pop it into the oven and bake for about 18 minutes, or until the cornbread is no longer jiggly in the middle.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate, cut, and enjoy.

* Wholewheat pastry flour is made from a softer wheat, which makes it ideal for wholegrain quick breads.  You may substitute regular wholewheat flour, which may yield a bit sturdier cornbread.

** A well seasoned cast iron skillet will turn out a perfect golden crust and release the cornbread as easily as a non-stick pan would.  If your pan isn’t very well seasoned, or if it’s new, you may have to coax the cornbread out with a spatula.

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