While travelling through America and staying with friends, I encountered Cornbread, which is something we simply don’t have in the UK.  It is rather calorific, but I love taking a wedge or as a corn muffin for one of those American long journeys.  While in Chicago about five years ago, I nearly ate one too many, having booked into a hotel directly opposite Whole Foods.  An amazing food hall of delights, with cornbread!

So inspired by my fabulous American friend Mary Ann, who found me an authentic 1950’s cornbread recipe from her Southern Cook Book, I thought it was worth a shot at trying to bake some here in the UK.  Back then they were referred to hoe or ash cakes or corn tash.  Typically, the corn bread was wrapped in cabbage leaves and baked in hot ashes (southern).

But, before I could get baking, I needed to answer several questions.  Firstly what and where do I find cornmeal, as I’ve never seen it in the supermarkets, secondly what is half and half?  The internet is a wonderful thing and after some digging, I found some answers, although that in itself required some further research.

Let’s start with what cornmeal actually is.  What Americans call coarse cornmeal, the UK calls Polenta or semolina.  Do not use this, as it will be VERY dry and you’ll feel like you’re chewing on grit.  Finely ground cornmeal is known to Americans as just cornmeal, whereas the UK refer to it as maize flour (which is actually referred to as corn flour in the US), but our corn flour is a starch agent for thickening, which is referred to as corn starch across the pond and is used for baking, far more than in the UK.

I hope you are still following me!  In short, for cornbread recipes, buy fine yellow corn meal and you cannot go wrong.

The other illusive item here in the UK is the half and half milk (half buttermilk and half cream), which is in abundance in the US, but not the confused with the UK term for mild ale and bitter mix.

My initial thoughts were to use semi-skimmed milk, but Mary Ann tells me half and half is sweeter milk than what we have.  I decided to use buttermilk, as it’s a thicker consistency to milk.  I didn’t find it necessary to up the sweetness of the recipe to account for a half and half substitute.  Cornbread is definitely sweet enough for my taste.

Finally the cooking temperatures.  The recipe didn’t give a temperature, other than a less than helpful line about cooking until they’re done.  Hmm, taking into account the average temperature of cornbread recipes I looked up, it seems 350F.  180C/170C Fan/Gas 4.  I treated the bread as a cake, but 20-25 minutes wasn’t long enough and as the top started to brown, I covered with parchment and the knife was clean after 40-45 minutes.

My adapted recipe is below.

cornbread
Cornbread
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Modern American cornbread is found throughout America in the form of wedges, muffins etc. Base ingredient of maize or corn meal, they used to be called ashe or hoe cakes and were taken on long journeys.
Servings
12
Prep Time
10min
Cook Time
30min
Servings
12
Prep Time
10min
Cook Time
30min
cornbread
Cornbread
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Modern American cornbread is found throughout America in the form of wedges, muffins etc. Base ingredient of maize or corn meal, they used to be called ashe or hoe cakes and were taken on long journeys.
Servings
12
Prep Time
10min
Cook Time
30min
Servings
12
Prep Time
10min
Cook Time
30min
Ingredients
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas 4. Combine the egg with the flour and cornmeal. Add other ingredients and mix well.
  2. Bake as a cake or as you desire. So it can be baked in one tin or individual muffin tins. I used a baking parchment lined 21cm x 21cm x 4cm square tin. I used a skewer to check the middle was clean, like a cake. It look slightly longer than 30 minutes. As the top started to crisp, I covered with greaseproof to stop it burning.
  3. Once cooked and removed from the oven, I left to cool for 30 minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack to completely cool.
Recipe Notes

My lovely American friend Mary Ann gave me this 1950's recipe from her Southern Cook Book.  I've had to adapt a few ingredients after research as we in UK refer to things differently.

title

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving
Calories 267kcal
Fat
Saturated Fat
Sodium
Carbohydrates
Fibre
Sugars
Protein
8g
5g
144mg
44g
0.3g
9g
5g
12%
25%
6%
15%
1%
10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Title Text
title

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving
Calories 267kcal
Fat
Saturated Fat
Sodium
Carbohydrates
Fibre
Sugars
Protein
8g
5g
144mg
44g
0.3g
9g
5g
12%
25%
6%
15%
1%
10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Title Text
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