Being from the south, I have eaten my fair share of cornbread. I can say without a doubt that I do not like it sweet. Now don't get me wrong, I'll certainly slather a warm piece with butter and honey, but it just isn't right to put sugar in the batter. So when I saw that there was not one, not two, but three different sweeteners in this recipe, I knew changes would have to be made.
I eliminated the brown sugar, granulated sugar and honey - yeesh! - and upped the salt a bit. The recipe also calls for bacon. I'm a lifelong vegetarian, so needless to say I didn't use that either. I wanted a little punch to the cornbread, so I added sage, and browned my butter. The recipe calls for buttermilk, but I didn't have any so I substituted yogurt as I often do.
When I got a bite with sage, it was delicious, though I should have added more. The flavor of the brown butter didn't come through, though there is only 2 tablespoons of butter in the recipe so i didn't have terribly high hopes for it.
Two unusual elements of this recipe are that it starts with an overnight soaker of cornmeal and buttermilk, and it contains fresh corn kernels. These were two of my favorite aspects of the bread. The soak made the bread incredibly moist and creamy, and I loved the flavor and crunch of biting into a sweet juicy kernel of corn.
When it comes down to it, though, I probably won't be repeating this one. The extra work that goes into this cornbread just isn't justified by the final product. It isn't bad, it's actually quite tasty. Just not any tastier than my usual recipe. In addition, it takes a long time to make - not necessarily active time, but due to the soaker it has to be planned for in advance - and it uses an inordinate number of bowls. My go-to recipe can be whipped up in about 5 minutes in one bowl.
The recipe for this bread can be found in the wonderful book The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.
Be sure to enter my GIVEAWAY for a wonderful 8x8 square baking dish. Here's how.