Thursday, March 3, 2011


I know they're not coming out in order, this is actually "Kentucky Cornbread 2.4," but this one couldn't wait. While this was not the most heart-smart cornbread so far. That one didn't get a number, yogurt instead of sour cream, extra virgin olive oil instead of corn oil, yuck, and it took as long as good cornbread dammit. A pound of bacon and its drippings helped to make this one of the most tasty in the "Kentucky Cornbread" series so far. Sauerkraut, banana peppers, and extra sharp cheddar rounded out what turned out to be one of our favorites. The crust was crispy and beautiful, and they all released from the mini-loaf pans perfectly. Like a number of the other first draft recipes I've done, this one had silly illustrations. Anyway, here's a picture of the set of ingredients (turned out I was out of jalapeños, but the bacon was cooked, so this picture will have to do for now) followed by Helmut's first draft:

                             Ok, you got the recipe, at least the list part, but when I gave a print-out to a friend I realized that there should be a little more to it. For one thing, the bacon drippings and corn oil should total 3/4cup, you should hold off adding the oil/drippings to the batter till you have used some of it. Add 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon from it to each cell of your pans before preheating them. While the pans are heating up, stir the remaining oil/drippings into the batter. Half fill each cell of the hot, oiled pans with batter and add the bacon, peppers, and cheese.

What the hey, I took more pictures than I thought I'd need, and this was real good cornbread, so here's its baby pictures. The first shows add-in distribution. A pound is a lot of bacon, even counting the nibble factor, but I wanted each one to have a good bit. I went for breaking it up and adding it to each mini-loaf.

The peppers were amazing, and I'm glad I was out of jalapeños. The banana peppers were a little lighter, and the sauerkraut and bacon were doing things too good to mask. The ones without peppers were great for breakfast.                        
 Once I was satisfied with the distribution, I mashed everything under the surface as gently as I could with a fork. I tried to keep the cheese away from the edges, but I don't think it really mattered much.                         
The next picture is supposed to show how the edge is browned and has  pulled away, as the slightly shrunken loaves begin to release from the pan. The pull-away, the color, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf coming out dry, are all signs that the cornbread is done. The picture blurred but I was ready to eat and felt silly taking so many pictures of cornbread. (I'll replace it when I can.)
After cooling on racks for 5 min. (in this case, the cake pans they were turned out into next), the mini-loaves were set on edge to continue to cool and dry a little. All too often cornbread is wrapped in foil or placed in plastic bags. This allows the moisture migrating from the interior of the loaves to concentrate at the surface and ruin the crunch. To store them while preserving their crunchy crust, they can be placed in a basket (or bowl, works for me) lined with a clean dish cloth or hand towel and wrapped, separated, and covered with same. It sometimes takes more than one cloth. It works so well that a day or even two days later, cornbread loaves stored this way in the fridge, when placed on a wire rack in the toaster oven and warmed, have a good crunchy crust--almost like they just came out of the pan.

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