We made this corn bread recipe as part of our Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 Ultimate Rib Showdown meal. It was really delicious and matched well with ribs. I got the corn bread recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (I love this book by the way!). I’ve used it before in a Thanksgiving meal and loved it (Peter Reinhart recommends trying to find turkey skin in place of bacon for that). But hey, bacon is always good!
Corn Bread with Bacon
What I love about this corn bread is that the flavor of corn is very evident and there’s a really wonderful mouth-feel in the texture of the corn bread. This comes from the use of polenta-grind cornmeal and the fresh corn kernels that go into the bread. The buttermilk plays nicely with the sweetness of the corn and the bacon adds a nice savoriness to counter the sweetness of the whole bread. Overall, it’s a very rich, flavorful, and toothsome corn bread.
Moist and Delicious
The only thing that I thought weird when I first made it was that it calls for the cornmeal to be soaked overnight at room temperature in the buttermilk. But it turns out that this really makes the corn bread moist and super delicious so don’t forget to do that step.
The hardest step for me was trying to get the corn bread out of the pan after baking (and I had used a springform pan but the bottom stuck). I recommend that you use parchment paper to ensure that the corn bread comes off easily. You can use any shape pan you like (I used a 10 inch springform but a 9x13 baking pan or 12x12 square pan will work just as well).
This recipe feeds a lot of people because the corn bread is very filling. It’s delicious but it also goes a long way!
Corn Bread with Bacon
adapted from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart
1 cup (6 oz) coarse cornmeal (also packaged as “polenta”)
2 cups (16 oz) buttermilk
8 oz bacon
1 3/4 cups (8 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz) firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups (16 oz) fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 Tbsp bacon fat or vegetable oil (but why try to be healthy now? ^_^)
1. The night before baking the corn bread, soak the cornmeal in the buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.
Soaking Cornmeal in Buttermilk
2. The next day, prepare the bacon. I normally slice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and fry them in a pan until crisp. Remove and place bacon on paper towels to drain. Save bacon fat to coat pan.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar.
5. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
6. Dissolve the honey in the melted butter and then stir the warm honey-butter mixture into the eggs.
7. Add egg mixture to the soaked cornmeal mixture.
8. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon or whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the batter is blended and smooth. It should be the consistency of thick pancake batter.
9. Stir in the corn kernels until they are evenly distributed.
Adding Corn Kernels to Cornbread Batter
10. Coat pan with bacon fat over the parchment paper. Pour batter into pan, spreading batter evenly to the edges of pan. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon pieces evenly over the top, gently pressing them into the batter.
Cornbread with Bacon Going into the Oven
11. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the corn bread is firm and springy (it took 45 mins for me) and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Baking time will depend on the size of the pan. The top will be a medium golden brown.
Cornbread with Bacon Coming Out of the Oven
12. Allow the corn bread to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before slicing it into wedges or squares. Serve warm.
Cornbread with Bacon