This isn’t any ol’ ordinary cornbread. It’s light as air, slightly sweet, a tad yellow, and the answer to a challenge. Well, not a challenge in the conventional sense, but a challenge to me nonetheless. I know someone (who shall remain nameless) who told me he made cornbread using the boxed Jiffy brand. While not horrified, exactly, I decided to come up with a very simple, sweet yellow cornbread that would wean him from the box. And this is it.
Quick breads (or breads using another leavening agent beside yeast) are just the most wonderful things. Using the “stirring method” – meaning no mixer required – makes them so simple to whip up in a…well…in a jiffy. Hmmm…I’m a little slow…but it just dawned on me where that brand name may have originated. Go figure.
Anyway, I decided to try to replicate the cake-like texture of that brand. So, it dawned on me, that when baking cakes, cake flour is very fine. This is what got me to thinkin’ about using Masa de harina.
Masa de harina is a white corn powder that is made with finely ground hominy. So, instead of just ground corn, there is another process entirely that takes place to make the masa. In order to make hominy from white corn, the corn kernels are first dried, then soaked and cooked in a solution of slaked lime. That’s what puffs up the corn kernels for hominy. Like this photo I nabbed from the interwebs at Cook’s Thesaurus:
Then, the hominy is ground into a really, really fine powder-like flour: Masa de harina, which is (round robin here) very much like the consistency of cake flour. So, that’s why I used it for this cornbread. I added some yellow cornmeal and some all-purpose flour, along with baking powder and salt for leavening…pretty standard. Then, for my liquids and fat I used half and half, sour cream and butter..can you say, RICH? The eggs, and the fact that you don’t over-mix this batter, give it a light fluffy texture.
I want some. Now. I hope you’ll try it too.
- 1 cup masa harina
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ cups half and half (you could use milk) it may require a titch more if the batter seems dry.
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place masa, yellow cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Whisk half and half (or milk), sour cream, eggs and 4 tablespoons butter together in a small bowl.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
- With a wooden spoon, stir to combine. Do not over-mix.
- Spray or grease the inside of a 9" cast iron skillet.
- Spoon batter into skillet and smooth top.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Once removed from the oven, drizzle about a tablespoon melted butter on the top (optional).
- Cool in pan or on a rack slightly before serving.
- Serve warm.