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Boston Brown Bread (Yeasted) World Bread Day 2009

Posted by bakinghistory on October 16, 2009

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Boston Brown Bread dates back to Colonial times and is traditionally paired with Boston Baked Beans

world bread day 2009 - yes we bake.(last day of sumbission october 17) Today is World Bread Day and as always I am happy to participate in this event hosted by Zorra.

I write from Massachusetts, so I chose an old-fashioned recipe for a classic New England bread, made since Colonial times. It contains equal quantities of rye, corn, and whole wheat flour, plus molasses and yeast, and it is steamed rather than baked. The result is a moist loaf, with a complex flavor and a mild sweetness. Great for dinner on a cool Autumn evening—along with a steaming bowl of baked beans or soup.

From the original recipe by Paul Richards

In: Baker’s Bread, 1918—USA

Ingredients

100 g rye flour

100 g whole wheat flour

100 g cornmeal

100 g Graham flour

5 g active dry yeast

8 g Kosher salt

135 g molasses (not blackstrap)

100 g boiling water

100 g warm water

milk as needed

Mix the rye flour and yeast with lukewarm water and set aside to ferment until light.

Scald the cornmeal with boiling water and set aside until cool.  Add molasses and salt, then remaining flours and rye sponge. Add drops of milk if dough is too stiff.

Place mixture in a well greased glass or stainless steel steamed pudding mold, which mixture should fill by 2/3. Cover tightly. Place mold in large pot of boiling water (having first placed a rack on the bottom) and steam, covered for 2 hours, keeping the water always boiling and reaching 2/3 up the mold. Add additional boiling water as needed.

Unmold and serve immediately.

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Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Regional American Food, Rye, State Foods, whole grains, Yeasted Breads | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Squash Bread (World Bread Day ’08)

Posted by bakinghistory on October 16, 2008

A wonderful loaf with a moist, chewy crumb and a crispy crust

3rd World Bread Day hosted by 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf

For this 2008 edition of World Bread Day, a blogging event founded and hosted by Zorra, I wanted to bake a bread with an ingredient with ties to the region of the United States where I live: New England.

So I chose to bake a bread made with  buttercup squash. The word squash originates from the Massachusett Indian word askutasquash, which indicated a vegetable that was eaten raw.

This bread is one of the best I have ever baked, and definitely one of my family’s favorites in the Fall. The squash provides a very moist and holey crumb, and the most gorgeous golden-orange color. The crust bakes crisp and the bread tastes only slightly sweet. It is great with a hearty soup for dinner on a cool Autumn evening.

The recipe comes from Mary Johnson Lincoln, a Massachusetts native who was a teacher at the famed Boston Cooking School and whose students included Fannie Farmer.

I recommend using buttercup squash because of its superior flavor and texture.

From the original recipe by: Mary J. Lincoln

In: “Mrs. Lincoln Boston Cook Book”, 1916—USA

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 g) baked and pureed  buttercup squash

2 tbsp (25 g) sugar

1-1/2 cups (366 g) whole milk

1 tbsp (15 g) butter

1/2 tsp (2 g) active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tbsp (15 ml) warm water

1 tsp (6 g) salt

3-1/3 cups to 4-1/3 cups (455 g to 595g) bread flour (as needed) I use King Arthur bread flour

semolina or cornmeal for the baking sheet

Scald the milk, then mix in it the pureed squash, butter, salt, and sugar.  When this mixture is cool add the yeast (mixed with the lukewarm water) and enough flour to have a dough that is well developed and supple, but rather slack. Knead well.

The dough should be soft and feel slightly tacky. Let it ferment, in a slightly greased bowl, covered, until double in bulk. Then gently shape it into a loaf on a floured surface, and place it on a baker peel or baking sheet on which  you have sprinkled a layer of fine semolina or cornmeal. Let the bread rise, covered, until light.

Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

Bake the bread directly onto a baking stone if you have one or on the baking sheet for about 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. Add steam for the first 10 minutes, by placing in the oven a small metal pan filled with boiling water. Lower the temperature to 425°F (218°C) after the first 15 minutes.

This is how the crumb will look: (click on picture)

Thank you Zorra for hosting again World Bread Day!!!


Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Regional American Food, Yeasted Breads | Tagged: , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

Chess Pie (quiche, tarte, & co.)

Posted by bakinghistory on October 14, 2008

A Southern classic: Chess Pie

Blog-Event XXXIX - Quiche, Tarte & Co.

This is my entry for the event hosted by  Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte .

ROUNDUP IS HERE

Chess pie is a classic dessert in the culinary repertoire of Southern U.S. The flaky crust encloses a sweet, sweet, sweet, and creamy filling topped by an ever-so-thin, crispy layer of meringue.

From the original recipes by:  Mattie Lee Wehrley

In: “Handy Household Hints and Recipes”, 1916, USA

and Juniata L. Shepperd

In: “Handbook of Household Science”, 1902—USA

Ingredients:

Filling:

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

2/3 cups butter

1 tbsp flour

1/2 cup milk or cream

Crust:

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (scant) butter

1/4 tsp salt

ice water as needed

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).

Make the Crust: In a food processor put flour salt and butter (diced), and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the machine running add enough water for the dough to come together. Do not overprocess. Wrap the dough in wax paper and let rest in a cool place for about 30 minutes. Roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness and line a deep pie dish, make a decorative rim.

Filling: melt the butter and let cool. Warm the milk and set aside.Beat the eggs at high speed with the sugar until very light (at least 15 minutes), then add the flour, the melted and cooled butter, and the lukewarm milk. If the milk is cold the mixture will curdle. If this happens, blend with an immersion blender until smooth and glossy.

Pour the filling in the prepared pan and bake at 350F (180C), until the top of the filling is golden brown. Let the pie cool in the pan placed on a rack. Serve cold; refrigerate any leftovers.

A note on the pie pan to use: I recommend using a metal deep-dish pie pan. In my experience, pies baked in  glass and ceramic pie dishes often have a soggy, undercooked pastry layer, which spoils the final result. Natural finish aluminum pie pans are best because they bake evenly.

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Dairy, Desserts, Pies & Tarts, Regional American Food, Tarts & Pies | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Jumbles (Think Spice…Think Nutmeg)

Posted by bakinghistory on July 25, 2008

Ring-shaped cookies nicely spiced with nutmeg

Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen is the host of  Think Spice… , a monthly blog event initiated by Sunita of Sunita’s World. This time the theme is Nutmeg—a spice that brings a wonderful, warm aroma to savory and sweet dishes alike.

ROUNDUP IS HERE

Jumbles—also spelled Jumbals—are ring-shaped cookies that date back to Colonial times and were  much more popular in the 1800s than they are today.

These cookies were usually flavored with lemon zest and rose water, and often included coconut and/or treenuts. Virtually any early American cookbook contains several recipes for Jumbles, and often call for sour cream  among the ingredients, as in the case of the recipe featured here. This produces a wonderful texture, dry and crunchy and yet very very light. The pleasant aroma of nutmeg truly shines through thanks to the low amount of sugar and butter which would otherwise overpower it. They are nice with tea or a glass of milk.

The shape of these cookies evolved in time: the earliest versions were shaped by rolling small quantities of dough between the palms of hands and forming small rings—this is the method I used here. Later the dough was rolled and cut with a donut cutter, which quickly provided  ring-shaped cookies of a uniform size and thickness. The most recent versions were simply shaped as drop cookies.

My personal preference is for the earliest method for shaping the cookies. The final result are cookies that look plain and homey, and with slight imperfections and differences in size. I like the fact that one can tell they were hand-shaped.

The dough produced by this recipe is soft and smooth, and extremely easy to work with. The baked cookies have a wonderful texture and are great for dunking.

The original instructions called for “enough flour” to form the cookies. My rule-of-thumb—and preference—is to use an amount of flour that is equal to twice as much the amount of sugar. In this case almost 2 lbs of unbleached, all purpose flour.

The brand of flour I use is King Arthur, which is a little higher in protein than other all purpose brands. If you use another brand you might need a little more flour, but don’t be tempted to use too much, or the cookies will turn out heavy and hard like rocks.

Using a proportion of 1:2 for sugar and flour produces cookies that are crunchy, keep their shape and are not too sweet. If you prefer you can add a little more sugar, keeping in mind that it makes the shape less neat and the cookies brown faster.

From the original recipe by Mrs. M.D. Carrington  (a lady of Toledo)

In:“The Home Cook Book: Tried and True Recipes” , 1876—USA

Ingredients

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, slightly softened

1 cup (all natural) sour cream (240 g)

3 eggs (medium)

1-1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated (or less, to taste, but not more than 1-1/2 tsp)

1 tsp baking soda

2 lbs AP flour (King Arthur)

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Cream the butter at medium speed, gradually add the sugar and mix well. Add the sour cream and then the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the baking soda.

Sift the flour with the grated nutmeg, and add to the egg mixture, mixing at the lowest speed just until a soft dough forms. Gather the dough in wax paper and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Break off small pieces of dough and roll them between the palms of your hands to form little ropes about the thickness of a pencil. Shape rings, more or less large in diameter and bake for 12-15 minutes until dry and crunchy.

It is important not to underbake these cookies—they have to be crunchy and dry, which is why a longer baking time at a lower temperature is necessary.  Insulated cookie baking sheets are ideal.

It is not necessary to grease the baking sheets, and once ready the cookies don’t stick and are extremely easy to transfer to cooling racks. Keep in air-tight containers once completely cold.

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti, Regional American Food, Spices | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Cornmeal Muffins (Homegrown Gourmet #5)

Posted by bakinghistory on February 7, 2008

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Made with yellow corn meal and a touch of sugar, the corn muffin is the official muffin of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

                                roundup is HERE

This is my entry for the Homegrown Gourmet #5 blog event hosted this time by Gretchen from Canela & Comino and initiated by Bean’s Bistro.

Gretchen’s theme was Quick Breads and she specified that each entry should “somehow represent your home region, hometown, state, or area. Representation can feature a local ingredient, be a traditional dish from your area, or be a creative twist”.

I write from the beautiful State of Massachusetts, so for this event my entry could only be Corn Muffins, which are the official muffin of the Commonwealth.

This recipe gives buttery, very light muffins, with a pleasant crunchiness provided by the stone ground cornmeal, and a nice touch of sweetness. Ideally, they should be baked in cast iron muffin pans, which should be heated in the oven before being filled with batter. This would ensure that the muffins turn out crispy on the outside and nice and spongy inside. Otherwise, regular muffin pans will work almost as well, of course without preheating.

From the original recipe by Lucia Gray Swett

In: “New England breakfast breads, luncheon and tea biscuits, 1891—USA

Ingredients (the recipe can be halved)

1/2 cup (115 g) butter + a little extra to grease the pans

1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar

4 eggs, divided

2 cups (245 g) yellow cornmeal (stone ground)

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups (250 g) AP flour (unbleached)

2-1/4 (535 ml) cups milk

3 tsp baking powder OR 1 tsp baking soda + 2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). If you are using cast iron muffin pans preheat them in the oven.

If you are using baking powder, sift it with the AP flour. If you are using baking soda and cream of tartar sift the cream of tartar with the AP flour and dissolve the baking soda in some of the milk. Sift the cornmeal with the salt.

Cream the butter with the sugar, add the yolks, the AP flour (sifted with either baking powder or cream of tartar), and part of the milk (not the amount in which you dissolved the baking soda, in case you used it). Add the cornmeal and salt, then add the remaining milk (the amount in which you dissolved the baking soda if using it). Mix the ingredients quickly, by hand. Finally fold in the egg whites, beaten until stiff.

Grease the muffin pans with melted butter (using a small brush is best). Do this carefully if you preheated the cast iron pans in the oven. Fill each muffin cup for about 2/3 and quickly place them in the oven. Immediately lower the temperature to 400°F (200°C) bake until the muffins are puffed and golden, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

P.S. The book recommended using cream of tartar + baking soda as they would give better results than baking powder, and I found this to be true.


 

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cast-iron cooking, Comfort Food, Corn Bread, Grains, Muffins & Biscuits, Regional American Food, State Foods | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Boston Cream Pie

Posted by bakinghistory on January 20, 2008

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The official dessert of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: delicious Boston Cream Pie
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taste300.jpg This is my entry for the blog event “A Taste of Terroir” hosted by Anna’s Cool Finds for which entries should highlight a specific food typical of a given area.
I write from beautiful Massachusetts, and there are many wonderful foods that are typical of this area: from chowder to corn muffins, from cranberries to chocolate chips cookies to Parker House rolls.
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One of my favorites is Boston Cream Pie, which is Massachusetts official dessert—A light sponge cake filled with vanilla cream and then iced with a dark chocolate icing, which provides a nice counterpart to the sweetness of the filling.
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The version I propose here is the most known, and was created in 1856 at the famous Parker House Hotel in Boston by French chef M. Sanzian. An earlier version was made without the chocolate icing and simply sprinkled on top with powdered sugar.
As for why it is called a “pie” while it is in fact a cake is not entirely clear, one possible explanation is that pie plates were once more common and easily available and were used to bake cakes as well.
Whether this is the actual reason for the name or not, it is indeed a delightful dessert.
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The recipe I used is an antique receipt and gives outstanding results—it is really worth trying.
Of course, if you have a chance, do visit Massachusetts and taste the Boston Cream Pie in its home State.
From the original recipes by Fanny L. Gillette
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In: The White House Cook Book” , 1887—USA
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Ingredients
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Filling
2 cups (475 ml) whole milk
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2 eggs
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1 cup (200 g) sugar
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1/2 cup (60 g) flour
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2 tbsp (30 g) butter
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1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract or paste
Cake
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3 eggs, divided
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1-1/2 cups (180 g) sifted flour
1 heaping tsp (6 g) baking powder
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2 tbsp (30 ml) milk or water
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Plain Chocolate Icing
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1 oz (30 g) bittersweet chocolate
3 tbsp (45 ml) milk or cream
1 tbsp (15 ml) water
scant 2/3 cup (120 g) sugar
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Make the Cream Filling: Scald the milk and set aside to cool. Mix together the flour and sugar, then beat the eggs and add the flour-sugar mixture, stirring until well incorporated. Add the warm milk in a thin stream, mixing well. Place on medium-low heat and cook stirring continuously, adding the butter as soon as the mixture starts to simmer. Cook the cream, always stirring to prevent scorching, until it thickens–it will offer some resistance to the spoon while you stir. Take the cream off the heat and stir in the vanilla, mixing well.
If any lumps should form, you can either strain the cream once it is ready, or blend it briefly with an immersion blender. Let the cream cool and then refrigerate it in a glass container with an airtight lid.
Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 9-inch (23 cm) cake pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease the paper as well.
Sift the flour with the baking powder. Beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy, being careful not to overbeat them. Set aside.
Beat the yolks at high speed for at least 15 minutes, adding the sugar little by little until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Add the milk or water, then add the flour-baking powder mixture little by little. Finally fold in the egg whites, making sure not to deflate them. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for about 20-25 minuets, until golden. Let the cakes cool in the pans for five minutes, then unmold them and let them finish cooling on racks.
When the cakes are cold, assemble the cake: spread a thick layer of cream on top of one of the cakes, then place the second one on top.
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Make the Chocolate Icing: Melt the chocolate on very low heat, then mix in the cream or milk and the water, finally adding the sugar little by little. Place on low heat and mix until the sugar is dissolved. If any sugar granules adhere to the sides of the pan, wash them off with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, or the icing will be grainy. Stir the mixture until it starts to boil, then let it cook, without stirring, for five minutes. Immediately pour the hot chocolate icing on top of the cake, starting form the center and letting the icing fall down the sides. Do not use a spatula to spread the icing or it won’t be glossy. The icing hardens quickly, so you need to be fast pouring it on the cake.
Let the icing set, then place the cake in the refrigerator in a closed container large enough that the lid does not touch the top of the cake. Serve the cake slightly chilled.
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Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cakes, Regional American Food, State Foods | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Cranberry Sherbet

Posted by bakinghistory on October 26, 2007

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A wonderful way to enjoy cranberries: a frosty sherbet

This is my entry for the Garden-Cook-Event hosted by Paulchen Garten-Koch-Event: Cranberries

 

I found recipes for cranberry sherbet in several vintage cookbooks, and this one consistently gives the best result. Many cookbooks recommend serving this sherbet after the roast turkey at a Thanksgiving course dinner. However, this sherbet is so good that, in my opinion, it is worth enjoying more than once a year.

 

From the original recipe by Mrs. E. H. Williams

In the Los Angeles Times Cook Book No. 2″ 1905 ?–USA

Ingredients

1 quart (400 g) fresh cranberries

1 lb (454 g) sugar

1 quart (950 g) water

(1 large) lemon juice, strained

Place the cranberries and water in a large pan and bring to the boil, then simmer until the berries are tender, about 10 minutes.

Strain the mixture of cooked berries and water into a clean pot through a fine sieve, pressing well on the fruit to extract all the juice and pulp and discard the solids that remain in the strainer. The resulting mixture will be a rather thin puree.

Add the sugar and the lemon juice and bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar and prevent scorching.

Skim off any froth. Pour the cooked puree in a glass container and let cool.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. Freeze the chilled mixture in an ice cream maker following the instructions that come with your appliance.

 

Note: I recommend straining the cranberry puree instead of using a blender or food processor, otherwise the sherbet texture will be gritty rather than smooth.

 

 

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cranberries, Fruit, Gelato, Ice Creams, Sherbets, & Ices, Regional American Food, Thanksgiving | 7 Comments »

World Bread Day ’07: Parker House Rolls

Posted by bakinghistory on October 16, 2007

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Buttery, slightly sweet, crusty on the outside and fluffy inside, small and dainty.

 

World Bread Day '07

Thanks to Zorra for organizing this great event

For World Bread Day I wanted to choose a bread to represent the United States–choosing only one was obviously difficult given its rich and diverse heritage–but since I write from Massachusetts I finally opted for something typical of this area.
Parker House Rolls have a long and colorful history. They were created at the Parker House Hotel here in Boston in the 1870s, and were greatly appreciated by its patrons, which included famous ones such as Offenbach, Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. They have been popular ever since.

From the original recipe by Fannie Merritt Farmer

In “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book” 1896–USA

Ingredients

2 cups (488 g) milk

3 tbsp (45 g) butter + 1 tbsp (15 g) extra

2 tbsp (25 g) sugar

1 tsp (6 g) salt

1/2 (7 g ) fresh yeast cake

1/4 cup (60 g) warm water

6 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour (or as needed)

Add 3 tbsp (45 g) butter, the sugar and salt to scalded milk and set aside until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and set aside.

Add yeast water to lukewarm milk mixture and mix well, then add 3 cups (375 g) flour and set aside, cover, and let rise until light and bubbly. Add more flour to make a soft dough that can be kneaded and rolled (it will require about 2-1/2 to 3 cups of four–312 g -375 g flour). Knead the dough (on low speed) until smooth and supple, then let it rise in a covered greased bowl until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 425°F–220°C

Melt 1 tbsp butter and set aside. Roll the dough to a 1/3-inch thickness and cut in rounds using a small biscuit-cutter dipped in flour (2-3/4-inch –7 cm diameter). Dip the handle of a wooden spoon in flour and with it make a crease through the middle of each round. Brush over one-half of each piece with melted butter, then fold and press edges together. Place rolls on a pan, let rise, and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Best served warm in a basket lined with a napkin.

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Regional American Food, Rolls, Yeasted Breads | 9 Comments »

New England Corn Cake

Posted by bakinghistory on July 12, 2007

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A yeasted corn bread with a crisp, golden crust and a creamy, soft interior.

Blog-Event XXV- American Cooking

From the original recipe by Fannie L. Gillette

In “The White House Cook Book” 1887–USA

Ingredients

1 quart (948 ml) whole milk

2 cups (300 g) stone ground yellow corn meal (whole grain)

1 cup (140 g) bread flour

1-1/2 tsp (6 g) active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tbsp warm water

1 tsp (6 g) salt

2 tbsp (30 g) butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs

1/2 tsp (2.3 g) baking soda dissolved in 1 tbsp (15 ml) warm water

Mix corn meal and bread flour in a large bowl. Scald the milk then pour it over the flours and mix well, taking care to eliminate lumps. Set aside to cool and when lukewarm add the melted butter and the yeast dissolved in 1 tbsp of warm water. Cover the bowl and set aside for 2-3 hours, until the mixture is light and bubbly.necorncakethumb.jpg

Preheat the oven to 450° F (230° C). 350°F (180°C)

Beat the eggs until light and foamy, add salt and baking soda dissolved in 1 tbsp of water, then pour into the cornmeal mixture. Beat until eggs are well incorporated then pour the batter (it will still be relatively loose) into a lightly greased 10-inch (28 cm) cake pan (I used a cast iron pan), let stand, covered, for 15 minutes then bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. (A few minutes before the end of the baking time increase the oven temperature to 450°F (230°C) in order to get a nice golden crust.

Serve hot from the oven.

Note. The first time I tried to make this recipe I thought it would never work: there seemed to be too much liquid and the cornmeal sank to the bottom of the bowl in a loose mass. But after the yeast was added and left to ferment for a while, the mixture turned light and relatively cohesive. Well beaten eggs and a hot oven did the rest. This corn bread turns out perfect every time.

Posted in Blog Events, Corn Bread, Regional American Food, Yeasted Breads | 7 Comments »