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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Recipe for Corn Bread with Bacon

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

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

Ingredients:
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? ^_^)

Method
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

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

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

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

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

Cornbread with Bacon

Enjoy!

Cheers, Annie

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Hungry for more savory baked recipes? Click below:

Buttery Dinner Rolls Recipe

Baked Red Bean Buns

Polenta Pie

Foccacia w/ Poached Garlic

12 Comments:

sandrine said...

Hi Annie & Nate,
I can't wait to try this recipe, if I am successful, this will be in our Thanksgiving bread basket.

Thanksgiving day, our over has too much going on.
I have a question, can I bake this corn bread ahead of time?
If so how many days ahead? Do I have to refrigerate.
To warm it up 10 mins in 350F?

I am a novice, please advise.

Love your blog!!

Thanks!
Sandrine

Pearl said...

ooh that bacon must be a nice touch to the sweet corn bread!

J said...

I am so identifying with that dog treat commercial where the dog runs amok around the house screaming, "BACON! BACON! I gotta get me some BACON! Yummy BACON! BACON! BACON!"

At Powell's Candy Shop in Wilow Glen, they have bacon flavored mints. Haven't gotten the nerve to try them yet - nor spend $3 for the tin.

Tuty said...

Oh this looks so good. I am grilling some jerk beef ribs right now and I wished I had looked at this recipe last night :-(

Thanks for sharing and I love your step-by-step photographs.

kel said...

I would cook this in a cast iron skillet. Warm the skillet with enough oil to coat in the oven and pour the corn bread in hot skillet and it shouldn't stick and it make the bottom and sides crispy.

Carolyn Jung said...

I was lucky enough to try this corn bread at Nate and Annie's house. Oh my gawd! Let me repeat that: Oh my gawd!! It's moist, rich, and so very satisfying. It's the ultimate corn bread.

Bits of Taste said...

Looks so delicous... and appetizing. Should try this out.

pigpigscorner said...

Love the addition of corn kernels and bacon! Wonderful combination.

Robert said...

I am with Kel here, that looks like a great recipe crying for a cast iron skillet with a little bacon fat in it.

Saara said...

I love that recipe and have made it several times. I endorse the C.I. pan. I use it to melt the butter so it's greased. Thanks for the craving. :P

Mrs. L said...

As you said, bacon is always good. We are doing ribs with friends over the Memorial weekend so this should go perfect!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments!

@Sandrine - I have a feeling this would be okay to bake the day before, then warm up in the oven the day of. The hard part would be getting the middle nice and warm without it drying out.

@Pearl - it sure is. Wish there was more! hee hee hee

@J - do they give samples?

@Tuty - you're welcome!

@Kel, @Robert, @Saara - yes, hopefully we'll get to make this again in our CI pan.

@Carolyn - thanks so much for coming and sharing the meal with us!

@Bits of Taste - do let us know how it comes out for you!

@Mrs L - I'd love to hear about your ribs n cornbread menu!