What is Cornbread?



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Table of Contents

The History of Cornbread

Ingredients in Cornbread

Cornbread Nutritional Information

How to Make Cornbread

Cornbread Recipes

Cornbread FAQ's

The cornbread is another relatively young addition to the bread family, at least as we know it today. It is a type of bread originating from the Americas, where New England settlers adopted the new ingredient of corn to their baking after learning the process from the indigenous people.

The modern cornbread is a slightly sweet bread served with chili and soups, however, originally it was not a sweet bread. The ancestor of our modern cornbread was the corn pone, hoecakes, and ash cakes made famous on Southern plantations.

Cornbread consists entirely of cornmeal as the main ingredient alongside baking powder. Common additives include honey, sugar, and jalapenos. The modern cornbread, like its hoecake ancestor, is usually prepared either by frying or baking the bread.

Cornbread has become synonymous with a southern chili dinner. Its fame in the southern United States is so great that it is remembered in many folk songs and is celebrated at the Arkansas Cornbread Festival.

The History of Cornbread

Cornbread might as well be an American institution these days. Loved by such celebrities as Carroll Shelby, creator of the Shelby Mustang, and author Maya Angelou, cornbread is as American as red, white, and blue!

But, cornbread is by no means an invention of the United States. It’s a recipe older than the 13 colonies, originating from the ancient Native American cultures of the Americas. The Aztecs and Maya were eating variations of cornbread as far back as 7,000 years ago.

The key ingredient in the cornbread of the ancients was the maize of the Tehuacan Valley in Mexico. When the settlers of Jamestown arrived in 1607, the colonists soon found that wheat did not grow well in the new soil, but the corn of their Native American neighbors did.

The creation of cornbread marked a revolutionary source of nutrients for the ancient Native Americans thanks to a process called nixtamalization. In nixtamalization, corn kernels undergo grinding, separation from the hull, and cleaning which increase its nutritional content.

The vitamin-rich nature of corn did not escape the new settlers. Soon, pilgrims were adopting the same cornbread recipes that their Native American neighbors made. The cornbread of today likely originated from the sharing of culture by the Choctaw and Cherokee nations with the European settlers of the southern American colonies.

The simplicity and inexpensive nature of cornbread preparation made it popular during the Civil War. Soldiers on both sides of the war could quickly grill corn-pone, hoecakes, or corn fritters to have a nutritious meal when funds were tight.

The same nutritional density and inexpensive nature of cornbread made it an essential staple for slaves of the Americas, imbedding the dish into African American history.

Overtime, cornbread spread across the country. In the North, cornbread became sweeter than its Southern savory variation. Cornbread did eventually reach Europe with the development of American trade routes, but it remains a decidedly American bread.

Ingredients in Cornbread

Cornbread largely varies depending on regional influences. However, there are common ingredients found in most recipes.

Northern U.S. cornbread recipes usually contain more sugar and honey and sometimes include wheat flour in the recipe to create a fluffier, cake-like consistency.

Cornbread Nutritional Information

Cornbread’s nutritional content varies depending on the honey and sugar content, but cornmeal does have more vitamin-rich contents that enriched bleached wheat flour. It is high in niacin and potassium and has fewer carbs per serving than white bread.

There’s a reason cornbread sustained ancient civilizations and allowed them to build their empires. However, adding honey and sugar lowers the nutritional balance of the bread, and topping it with butter adds fat and calories to the bread, too.

How to Make Cornbread

Cornbread recipes are remarkably simple when compared to yeast-leavened bread dough, provided you aren’t grinding your own cornmeal.

You simply mix the ingredients, grease the pan, and select your cooking method. Cornbread recipes vary on the cooking methods, with baking, frying, and even boiling methods used to cook the bread.

Baked cornbread cooks much the same as cakes in the oven. Boiled cornbread uses boiling water in the recipe and cooks much like pancakes. You cook fried cornbread on the stovetop in butter or oil. Each variation produces a different texture.

Cornbread Recipes

Cornbread recipes all include cornmeal, but there are countless variations with unique ingredients that change the final product.

In the South, cornbread is a savory affair. Adding jalapenos and frying the bread in bacon grease or lard are common variations in the South. Such savory versions are commonly served at barbeques.

The Southerners call cornbread from the Northern States Yankee cornbread. This cornbread is made and served with honey and butter, and the cornmeal is usually mixed with wheat flour to make a sweeter, softer variation of cornbread.

Cornbread FAQ's

Cornbread is a type of cornmeal-based bread typically made in a quick bread or muffin form. It is usually leavened with baking soda or baking powder. Cornbread is a popular dish in the Southern United States, where it is often served as a side dish to accompany main dishes such as chili or barbecue.

The typical ingredients in cornbread are cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and milk. Some recipes also call for butter, eggs, and/or bacon fat.

There are many different ways to make cornbread, but the basic process involves mixing the ingredients together and then baking the batter in an oven. Some recipes call for adding corn kernels or other chopped vegetables to the batter, and some call for grating fresh corn into the cornmeal before mixing.

There are many different ways to make cornbread, but the basic process involves mixing the ingredients together and then baking the batter in an oven. Some recipes call for adding corn kernels or other chopped vegetables to the batter, and some call for grating fresh corn into the cornmeal before mixing.

Cornbread is typically served as a side dish, but it can also be eaten on its own as a snack or breakfast food. It is often served with butter or honey, and sometimes topped with shredded cheese or crumbled bacon.

One common misconception about cornbread is that it is only eaten by people from the Southern United States. However, cornbread is actually enjoyed by people all over the world. Another misconception about cornbread is that it is always made with yellow cornmeal. While this is the most common type of cornmeal used in cornbread, recipes can also be made with white or blue cornmeal for a different flavor.

Cornbread is generally considered to be a healthy food, since it is made with cornmeal which is a whole grain. However, recipes that include adding large amounts of sugar or butter can make cornbread less healthy.

Cornbread is thought to have originated with Native Americans, who were the first to cultivate corn. Cornbread was traditionally made with cornmeal that was ground by hand using a mortar and pestle. The first written recipe for cornbread dates back to 1736, and it was called "hasty pudding."

Since its inception, cornbread has undergone many different variations and adaptations. Recipes for cornbread can now be found all over the world, with each region putting its own spin on the dish.

As cornbread continues to gain popularity, it is likely that there will be even more variations and adaptations of the dish. It is also possible that cornbread will become more mainstream and be eaten as a side dish or breakfast food in more parts of the world.

There are about 150 calories in cornbread. However, the exact number of calories will depend on the recipe and ingredients used. For example, if cornbread is made with butter or eggs, it will have more calories than if it is made with milk.

There are many recipes for cornbread, but a basic recipe usually includes cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, milk or water, and shortening. Some recipes also call for adding sugar, eggs, corn kernels or other chopped vegetables to the batter, and some call for grating fresh corn into the cornmeal before mixing.

Cornbread will last for about 2-3 days if stored in an airtight container. If cornbread is stored in a humid environment, it will become stale more quickly.

Cornbread should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If cornbread is stored in a humid environment, it will become stale more quickly.

Yes, cornbread can be frozen. cornbread can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw cornbread at room temperature or in the microwave.

There are some recipes for cornbread that are gluten-free, but most cornbread contains gluten since it is made with wheat flour.

Yes, there are some recipes for cornbread that are vegan. These recipes usually replace the milk and eggs with vegan substitutes such as almond milk and flaxseed meal.

No, cornbread is not Paleo since it contains wheat flour. However, there are some recipes for Paleo cornbread that use almond flour instead of wheat flour.

The difference between cornbread and corn muffins is that cornbread is usually baked in a pan, while corn muffins are baked in a muffin tin. Cornbread is also generally denser than corn muffins.

The difference between cornbread and corn pone is that cornbread is usually made with cornmeal, while corn pone is made with cornmeal and corn flour. Cornbread is also generally denser than corn pone.

Shane Jones

Hey there! I'm Shane, the face and hands behind BakeSomeBread. My journey into the world of bread and pastries started over 10 years ago, and what began as a simple hobby quickly turned into an all-consuming passion. While I might not have formal qualifications or fancy titles, I've spent countless hours perfecting my recipes, experimenting with flavors, and, yes, learning from a few (or maybe more than a few) baking blunders along the way.

I've never been featured in glossy magazines, and I don't have any teaching stints to boast about, but what I do have is genuine love for baking and a drive to share that with all of you. Every recipe you find here is a result of my personal adventures in the kitchen—tried, tested, and baked with love.

Trust is a big deal for me. So, while I'm always up for a bit of baking fun, I'm serious when it comes to authenticity. Every bit of advice and every recipe on this site comes straight from my own experience. And hey, if I can help even one of you find joy in baking, then all those flour-covered days and nights have been worth it! Happy baking, folks! Oh, and come and say hi on Social Media too!