Cast Iron Southern-Style Cornbread
Why This Recipe Works
Unlike its sweet, cakey Northern counterpart, Southern cornbread is thin, crusty, and decidedly savory. It is traditionally made with cornmeal and no flour or sugar. We used yellow cornmeal for potent corn flavor, and we toasted it in our cast-iron skillet to bring out its flavor even more. Veering from tradition, we added a small amount of sugar to enhance the natural sweetness of the cornmeal. A cornmeal mush created by moistening the toasted cornmeal with sour cream and milk produced a fine, moist crumb. Baking the cornbread in a greased, preheated cast-iron skillet gave it a seriously crunchy, golden crust. A combination of oil and butter for greasing the skillet (as well as in the batter) struck the perfect balance in the flavor and structure of the bread—the butter added richness, and the oil raised the smoke point so the butter wouldn't burn.