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People can be very particular about their cornbread.  Some like it dense, rich, and grainy, but not me.  I prefer mine light, moist, and barely sweet.

This is an easy recipe to adapt for all sorts of special diets, and I like the egg-, dairy-, and gluten-free versions just as much as the original.

Cornbread

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. cornmeal

1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 c. whole milk

1/4 c. safflower or canola oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Sift flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.

Whisk milk, oil, and egg together in a small bowl, then add to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Spread batter into an oiled or buttered 8 x 8-inch square baking dish (or preheated, oiled cast-iron skillet) and bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

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Make it egg-free:

Increase baking powder to 4 tsp., and replace egg with 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed (from about 2 tsp. whole flaxseed, if you’re grinding it yourself — use your coffee grinder) cooked in 3 tbsp. water.  Here’s the method:  Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add ground flaxseeds, reduce heat to low, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes thick and viscous, about one minute. Using a spatula, transfer mixture to a small bowl and let cool slightly, then stir into flour mixture along with other wet ingredients.

Even if you don’t have an egg allergy, flaxseeds are worth experimenting with.  They’re very good for you, and — unlike eggs — they keep indefinitely (in their whole form) so they’re easy to always have on hand.  Flaxseed works particularly well in place of eggs in quick breads, muffins, cookies, and waffles — just remember that in most cases, you’ll need an extra teaspoon or two of baking powder for rise.

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Make it dairy-free:

Replace whole milk with soy or rice milk, and use oil instead of butter.

Make it gluten-free:

Use a cornmeal and baking powder you trust, replace the all-purpose flour with 3/4 c. sorghum flour and 1/4 c. tapioca starch, and add 1 tsp. xanthan gum.

Note:  I tested the gluten-free version with the flaxseed egg replacer, and it turned out great!  Soft and moist and just as good as the original.  I assume it would work as well using the egg — if anyone tries it this way, let me know how it goes.

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