Friday, August 27, 2010

Cornbread from Extreme Scratch

Last year, I grew a small amount of heirloom corn in my backyard. Bloody Butcher is a dent-type corn that can be eaten fresh, or dried and used as hominy or milled into cornmeal. I hung the ears up to dry, in the hopes of using them when I was able to acquire a grain mill. Now with the arrival of my NutriMill, I was finally able to put it to use.

Dent corn is so named because the kernels develop a dent in them as they dry, because the inside part shrinks but the outside does not. Here's one of my ears of corn demonstrating this.  

With very little effort, I was able to strip the dried corn off the cobs by hand:

The NutriMill grain mill was easy to use, and produced a medium-grit flour at the setting I used.

Freshly milled Bloody Butcher cornmeal

I also milled a bit of hard red winter wheat, and made cornbread using corn to wheat in a 3-1 ratio. Eggs, buttermilk, salt, baking powder, melted butter and  NO SUGAR. Oh, how I hate sweetened cornbread. People started adding sugar to cornbread when they stopped using fresh-milled cornmeal, because the oil in cornmeal goes rancid so quickly and the meal loses its sweetness.

Skillet cornbread

I like my cornbread to be twice as thick, so for the next batch, I'll use a smaller cast-iron pan. The crumb was surprisingly tender, resembling that of a muffin, even though I used mostly cornmeal. I'll try milling the corn on the coarsest setting next time, as well, to see how the consistency changes. It has a deep corn flavor with a flavor profile that's decidedly different from standard yellow corn, a touch of natural sweetness, and not a hint of bitterness. It's so good, you don't even need to put butter on it.