Cornbread is a great wintertime comfort food, perfect with chili, stew, or on its own smothered in honey and butter. This recipe is baked in the old-fashioned way in a cast iron skillet, which gives it a crunchy outer crust. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a 9″x12″ glass or metal baking pan, or you can make corn sticks or corn muffins. Grease any of these pans well before baking the recipe. Instead of heating the shortening in the skillet, heat it in a bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes, watching to make sure that it melts all the way through and doesn’t get too hot.
My recipe is based off a recipe from my favorite cornmeal maker, Hodgson Mill. Their cornmeal is 100% whole grain, unlike many brands, and it’s also organic and gluten free. You can purchase Hodgson Mill cornmeal at the Proctor Metropolitan Market, on Hodgson Mill’s website, or at health food stores.
I added wheat bran and flaxseed meal to the recipe, making it even healthier. Bob’s Red Mill makes good wheat bran and flaxseed meal, available online or at many grocery stores. You can use buttermilk from a store or you can easily make your own buttermilk. Whole milk or 2% buttermilk tastes the best in this recipe, but you can easily substitute in low- or no-fat buttermilk. Cornmeal and flaxseed meal are naturally gluten free. If you’d like to make this recipe gluten-free, substitute the 1/2 Cup wheat bran for another 1/2 Cup cornmeal.
Healthier Old Fashioned Cornbread
- 2 Tablespoons shortening (or lard)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 Tablespoons honey (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/4 Cups Hodgson Mill Yellow Cornmeal, or any other yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 Cup wheat bran
- 1/4 Cup flaxseed meal
- 1 3/4 Cups buttermilk (or enough to moisten)
- 1 egg
- Make 2 cups of buttermilk, if needed.
- Put shortening in a large (12″) cast-iron skillet in a 400 degree oven.
- Mix baking soda, baking powder, honey, salt, cornmeal, wheat bran, and flaxseeds in a large bowl.
- Add egg and buttermilk. Batter should be thick.
- Carefully take the (very heavy and very hot) cast-iron skillet out of the oven and pour the heated shortening into the batter. Quickly stir the batter and pour it back into the heated skillet. Bake in the 400 degree oven for 25-35 minutes or until brown.
Recipe Nutrient Analysis (for original recipe: with shortening, without wheat germ or flaxseeds): 1/6 of recipe
239 calories; 4 g dietary fiber; 39 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 8 g fat ; 35mg cholesterol; 745 mg sodium.
For more info: Learn how to make your own buttermilk or baking soda to use in this recipe, and learn why this recipe calls for baking soda and baking powder. For another dinner side-dish option, make some delicious old-fashioned dinner rolls. Trying to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions? Eat your cookies too when you make Healthier Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.
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