February 6, 2013

Cracklin Cornbread

Last week's renderings half filled a gallon crock with cracklings. Over the weekend I made cracklin cornbread. It was the best cornbread ever!


I used my basic Southern cornbread recipe, but had a question of how much cracklins to add. The Little House Cookbook and a few other recipes called for a timid couple of tablespoons. That didn't seem like enough so I kept looking. Finally I found several recipes calling for one cup, which seemed more like it.

Cracklin' Cornbread

Preheat oven to 425F. Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet containing
Mix together dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 C corn meal (homegrown, homeground)
  • 1/2 C all purpose flour (adjust these proportions as desired)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
Mix together wet ingredients:
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (my Ameraucanas lay my largest)
  • 2 C buttermilk (I used 1 cup buttermilk from butter making,  and 1 cup whey)
Stir together dry and wet and fold in
  • 1 C cracklings
Pour batter into piping hot skillet. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe notes:

Fat - Obviously you can use whatever fat or oil that suits your fancy. Some recipes call for adding the melted fat to the batter before pouring it into the skillet. I don't do this, I just pour in the batter without adding the fat. The result is a delightfully crispy edged cornbread, almost like it's been fried.

Leavening - Many (most) cornbread recipes call for both baking soda and baking powder. Baking powder contains baking soda (the base) and cream of tartar (the acid) buffered with cornstarch, to slow down their reaction to one another. It's the chemical reaction between the base and acid that cause batter to rise. I quit using baking powder awhile ago because I always have an acidic liquid on hand: buttermilk, whey, yogurt, or kefir. I've even used a dash of the liquid from lacto-fermented veggies, like sauerkraut. For that reason, I don't need the baking powder and can skip it.

Except for the baking soda and salt, this is easily made with 100% homegrown ingredients. We ate ours with a big bowl of home canned tomatoes and okra mixed with leftover homegrown black turtle beans. I put fresh Ziggy butter on the table, but the cornbread really didn't need it.

Cracklin Cornbread © February 2013 

32 comments:

Sue said...

Yum! If I hadn't just eaten dinner I would be in the kitchen right now.

Judy said...

Looks tasty! I will ear-mark it for the next time we have corn bread.

Jacquelineand.... said...

Oh yum, this looks delicious! I've never been fond of sweet cornbread so this is one I'll definitely try.

Leigh said...

Sue and Judy, thanks!

Jacqueline, I have to agree with you about sweet cornbread. The same goes with sweet whole wheat bread. Yuck to both. I never could understand why restaurants and commercial bakers want to add so much sugar to breads.

Stephanie said...

Oh this sounds so good! Going to have to give it a try myself.

DebbieB said...

Oh, my mouth is watering! I'm about to have breakfast, but it won't be nearly THAT good.

Mama Pea said...

Mmm-mm! Sounds wonderful to me! (And I'm not even that fond of cornbread!)

Leigh said...

Stephanie, it is good!

Debbie, especially when it's piping hot out of the oven. :P

Mama Pea, Dan isn't real keen on cornbread either, but he really liked this one.

Nina said...

Corn bread isn't really a staple up here. You rarely see it, anywhere. I was quite stunned when a friend from Texas who was living nearby handed me a couple of boxes of cornbread muffin mix. I'd never seen them before and she said she had to go over the border to find them. The recipe looks pretty good though and the photo looks delicious.

DFW said...

Oh my gosh, that looks so good. As Southern as I am, cornbread is one item that I can't seem to master. I may give this recipe a try.

Florida Farm Girl said...

That sounds good. I haven't had cracklin' cornbread since I was a kid. I like the cracklins in little pieces though and my mother sometimes left chunks.

Renee Nefe said...

Now I'm hungry for lunch! LOL! I'm glad you found a great recipe.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh my gosh! This looks and sounds so yummy, Leigh. My husband makes a delightful cornbread with chipotle chili in the cast iron skillet. I'm gonna show him this post and he'll be excited to try making it, although we have no chitlins so I'm not sure how he'll improvise. But just give him an excuse to bake anything in cast iron, and he's there!

Bonnets and Boots said...

Sounds delicious! Thanks for the info on baking powder. I'll try it.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Sounds DELISH! I think I could even tempt my husband with this recipe and he won't touch cornbread.

Michelle said...

I did not know that about baking powder and baking soda!!! I'm sitting her with my jaw hanging open! How did I not catch on?! I've even made baking powder from scratch before! So... you just use baking soda and an acidic liquid? Can you tell us what proportions?

The Weekend Homesteader said...

I remember eating cracklin' cornbread growing up, but I haven't had it in years. It looks delicious!

Leigh said...

Nina, ah the delights of regional cuisine. I can empathize with your Texan friend. TexMex is delightful soul food. Can't say I'm convinced about packaged corn bread mix though, LOL. Corn does like heat, so it's pretty common in the southern latitudes.

DFW, my nemesis is pie crust!

Sue, funny you should mention that but I thought the same thing. So I chopped my cracklings fine. Really tasty that way.

Renee, me too! Glad to hear you're hungry. That must mean you're over being sick.

Bonnets and Boots, thank you! And you're welcome!

Tanya, my husband isn't a corn bread fan either, but he actually likes this one.

Michelle, we're all learning! The biggest problem with baking powder is that the baking soda and cream of tartar neutralize each other over time. That's why it loses it's oomph. I use 1/2 tsp baking soda per cup of flour. For the acidic liquid, it depends. Something mild like whey or buttermilk, I'll substitute the entire liquid called for. If all I have is pickle juice, yogurt, kefir, or lacto-fermenting brine, I'll use a couple of tablespoons, adding it to whatever other liquid I'm using. Molasses and natural chocolate (i.e. not "Dutch" or alkali treated) are natural acids in baking as well.

Candace, I had never had it before. I've read about cracklings in Little House, but never dreamed they'd be so good!

Benita said...

My mouth immediately began watering when I saw that picture. That looks yummy!!!

Sandy said...

Leigh

Your cornbread with cracklin looks really delicious, I've never had cornbread made like this.

I thought about you when I came across goat cheese the other day at Whole Foods. We had to drive into Oklahoma City so we stopped at Whole Foods before the long drive home. The cheese looked so good, I had to buy it. It was rolled in cranberries. Once we opened it, I snatched up a piece and I was in heaven. Have you ever put cranberries (cooked down) on the outside of your goat cheese?

Nancy po said...

Looks good! I made Emeril's "manly man" cornbread- with bacon, cheese, corn and whatever I can't remember. It was like a MEAL!

Leigh said...

Benita, it was just as good as it looks. :)

Sandy, I've never heard of using cranberries with goat cheese but it sounds like a winning combination. Thanks for mentioning it, I'd like to try that

Nancy, that sounds positively yummy!

a view from a brown dog said...

YUM Looks SO good and to think almost all of it came from your home. I love that!

Michelle said...

Leigh, I've seen the goat cheese logs rolled in cranberries and the cranberries were dried. Looked yummy!

SmithGang said...

Sounds so good. I agree, how wonderful a meal and such accomplishment that most was from your hard work n fresh from your farm.

Leigh said...

Jen, thanks! And yes, the fact that it's practically 100% homestead grown is just as good as tastiness. :)

Michelle, that sounds so good. I have dried cranberries in the pantry, so next time I make cheese (this summer, good Lord willing and the creeks don't rise) I will definitely give this a try. I'm scouting out recipes now.

SmithGang, hard work is the best ingredient for making any homegrown food be really tasty. :)

Kris said...

Thanks for the simple explanation about leavening. I have a couple of quarts of whey in the freezer that was earmarked for ricotta (as it was the only thing I thought I could make with it). Now it's become something much more useful as I've recently discovered about lacto-fermentation! Your baking tips have now given me another good use for my whey. Thanks!

Leigh said...

Kris, you are very welcome. I love sharing what I learn. There are a ton of things you can do with whey. I made a pretty good size list of those at the bottom of this post, Cheese #11, The Recipe.

Florida Farm Girl said...

For CALIFORNIAGRAMMY -- please don't put chitlins in your cornbread. We're talking about CRACKLINS here. Other than both coming from a pig, they have absolutely nothing else in common!!!

Leigh said...

FFG, thank you for that. I don't even know what chitlins are. I reckon I'd better go look them up!

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Dang it! Now I have to go look up what a Cracklin is!

If you're interested in a dutch oven cornbread recipe, I've blogged ours:


The Orange Jeep Dad's Dutch Oven Cornbread

Leigh said...

Orange Jeep Dad, cracklins are the little bits leftover from rendering animal fat. I chop them fine and brown them first, then pour in the cornbread batter. Very tasty, kind of like bacon cornbread. :)