Being of the Southern persuasion, I grew up eating cornbread as a side for all types of Southern food. And also because of said Southern persuasion, I grew up eating cornbread made without sugar. But I did grow up in the generation of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (notice they call it corn ‘muffin’, not corn ‘bread’ – I don’t think that was unintentional). So it’s not like I was never exposed to the sweet style of cornbread more popular in the North, I just prefer the Southern-style.
This Corn Bread made from Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice baking manual actually includes three different sweeteners (!) – white sugar, honey, and brown sugar. But I was sure it had to be better than a mix, and all that bacon and bacon grease would be sure the cancel out some of the sweetness. Reinhart says he had to include it in his book even though it wasn’t a yeast bread because it was just so darned good. Hmm, we’ll see, I thought.
My doubts were proven wrong, however, because this cornbread was really fabulous. It wasn’t overly sweet, and the bacon gave it enough saltiness to balance the flavors beautifully. It was a home run.
I made the recipe without the corn it called for because I wasn’t really in the mood for it, but I think it would make it even better, if possible. It worked perfect in my cast iron skillet, and had a nice crispy crust as a result. This is a cornbread recipe definitely worth a little extra effort.
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