Carolyn’s Cooking Adventure: Sourdough Cornbread

My friend Robin gave me some sourdough starter. I made sourdough bread, which, because I wasn’t paying attention as much as I should have, was good but not great. It did, however, use up most of my starter, so I took my starter out of the fridge and for the last few days have been feeding it twice a day at room temperature. It’s bubbling along quite nicely.

I’ve been saving the discarded starter. I made sourdough pancakes which were pretty darn good.

Tonight I made sourdough cornbread which was so awesome I’m still having a food O over it. As a base, I used the recipe on the back of the Alber’s cornmeal box, and then I was cooking without a net. And I have to tell you, I was so sure this would be a failure that I didn’t keep track of what I was doing. Which is why I’m blogging it, so I get it down before I forget.

You-all need to try this, if you ever happen to have starter around, and then you will want to run out and buy ALL my books because, omg THAT’S THE AUTHOR WHO POSTED THE ORGASMIC CORNBREAD RECIPE!

Right?

Picture of baked sourdough cornbread

Sourdough Cornbread.

OK, so the recipe calls for these ingredients:

Base Ingredients

1 cup of flour
1 cup of cornmeal
1/4 cup of sugar (I wasn’t paying attention and added 1/2 cup, but I figured, what the heck. It will probably need it because of the sourdough starter. This turned out to be true.)
1 TBS of baking powder.

1 egg. (I used two)
1/3 cup of oil. (I eyeballed it.)
1 cup of milk — all but maybe 1/4 cup omitted. On purpose.

it probably calls for salt but I didn’t use it. Oops. I didn’t miss it.

So, here’s the list of the ingredients I used, and the steps in the order I took them in, with comments, which are important as you’ll see:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

1 cup of flour
1 cup of cornmeal
1/2 cup of sugar
1 TBS of baking powder.
2 eggs
1/3 cup of oil
1 cup room-temperature sourdough starter. Might have been 1.5 cups. Whatever. If you have that much, use 1.5 cups but I think you need at least 1 cup. You’ll make up the difference with the milk anyway.
Enough milk to make the batter stirable. 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

1/2 cup unsalted Butter. If this frightens you, you could probably get away with 1/4 cup, but come on. Live a little.

When the oven is at temperature, and you’re just about done with the batter, put an 8×8 pan in the oven (glass is probably best. I used an Apollonia ceramic pan, which is French and completely awesome, I love it for baking) and throw in the stick of unsalted butter. You’re going to let it melt. Be brave.

I sifted the cup of flour 2 or 3 times (measure the sifted flour the first couple of times). Put it in a large bowl. Add the cornmeal and the baking soda and whisk well.

In a small bowl, mix the oil, 1 egg (you should probably just use both at this point) and the sourdough starter until it’s well blended. Add to the flour. The batter was heinously thick so I added the other egg, but I’m sure you could safely add it in the previous step. Since the batter was still heinously thick, I added milk a couple tablespoons at a time until it was thick, but stirable.

At this point, I was convinced I had a failure on my hands, so I just opened the oven and swooshed the pan around to make sure my ocean of melted, bubbly butter coated the sides a bit (probably not necessary) and poured in my thick batter.

My recommendation is that you don’t look at the result. It’s scary. It looks like doom. Just close the oven and let it cook for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. If the top looks to be getting too brown, lightly cover it with aluminum foil. With my oven, it cooked for 25-30 minutes.

Ta Da. Done! Eat it right away!

it was the most awesome, light and fluffy cornbread ever, with just enough sugar to counteract the tart sourdough. Amazing.

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7 Responses to “Carolyn’s Cooking Adventure: Sourdough Cornbread”

  1. It looks delicious, Carolyn! I recently bought Paul Hollywood’s baking book, which contains a step-by-step instruction how to make your own sourdough starter. Having never made nor worked with sourdough before, I was quite surprised to learn that you have to “feed” it. Sounds decidedly creepy to me… *g*

  2. DawnD says:

    Yum! I will be trying this as soon as this road trip ends.

  3. Sandy: If you google “sourdough starter” you should come across a fairly ugly site by a guy who’s a baker with some really strict ideas about sourdough starter. His instructions for caring for, creating, maintaining, and recovering starter were really clear and informative. I’ve moved mine to the fridge now and will feed 1x a week.

  4. Dawn: Let me know how it goes!

  5. Mary Jo says:

    Carolyn, I never had much luck with sourdough and starters till last year when I got the Tartine cookbook after reading about it online. I now make wonderful crusty artisanal loaves in a Lodge combo cooker :). I even visited the bakery when we were in SF in october…. Your cornbread sounds yummy. My starter is like a pet, I feed it every day :)

    • Oh! I have the Tartine cookbook! I LOVE the pictures. The things I’ve made from it have been pretty yummy, too. As I write this, I have another sourdough rising. I paid more attention this time… And some of that Lodge cookware, boy, that’s really nice stuff.

  6. Anna says:

    I’ve never heard of sourdough cornbread, but it looks delish! My daughter absolutely loves cornbread. We have to watch her or she’ll attempt to eat the whole 8×8 pan. Thanks for the recipe! I’m going to cut and paste it to a doc. :o)