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Mom's Cornbread (Gluten-Free)

This recipe comes to us from Karen Oland.

Preheat oven to 475F. While preheating, put cast iron skillet in oven, with a scant tablespoon corn, safflower or peanut oil in bottom.

6 heaping soup spoons (approx 1 cup) of corn flour/corn starch or corn flour/sorghum flour mix (3:1)*
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup powdered milk (or powdered buttermilk)
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl.

Wait until oven is preheated (or at 450F) before continuing. Mix enough water into dry ingredients to get to a "pancake batter" consistency (thinner than waffles, but not runny). Add one egg and beat well (batter gets a little volume to it - use a hand mixer if your arms arent up to the job). Pour into the hot skillet, return to oven and bake about 10 -14 minutes (until browned on top and at the edges). If you poke the top, it should not be "jiggly", but firm.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly in pan, then cut and serve. If taking somewhere else for dinner, leave in pan, wrap in towels to transport (cast iron will keep it hot for some time). Serve with lots of fresh butter, honey and a glass of cold buttermilk

Notes:
* I use home ground corn and sorghum, the flour as finely ground as I can make it. But, a coarser corn meal can be used or even masa -- you just get different textures in the resulting bread. Colored corn meals will result in differently colored breads - mine is yellow as I use popcorn most of the time, but you can use a white corn or even blue or red corn to get fun colors (especially good for layered salads).

Corn flour can be ground with an electric mill (I use popcorn) or purchased at most Mexican markets.

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Use a finely ground corn meal (I grind my own, same consistency as a fine flour). You can use all cornmeal, but it can be a little coarse --cornstarch lightens the resulting bread.

The above recipe is cooked in a small (6") cast iron skillet and makes 4 pieces (increase proportionately for a medium (8") or large (10") skillet -about 8 and 11 spoonfuls of flour, respectively and increase eggs by one for each increase in size)

Triple everything for "big" pan (14"), do not multiply by 4, gets too thick, doesnt cook in center of bread.

If you use real buttermilk instead of the powdered plus water -- try to get one without gums added, otherwise the batter is difficult to get to the right consistency. Regular milk could also be used. Havent tried this with any milk or egg substitutes, so dont know if it would work. I do know if you make it with masa flour and a gum thickened buttermilk, it gets a very "cakey" consistency.

Additional Comments from "Mom":

I dont really have a cornbread recipe as such. I combine both cornmeal and flour with dry powdered milk and enough water to make a batter about like pancakes, and then beat in an egg. I use a soup spoon to measure, For a medium sized skillet, I use about 5 very heaping spoonfuls of meal and 3 very heaping spoonfuls of flour (You could use all cornmeal). For my little skillet I use about 5 spoonfuls total and about 10 or 11 for the large skillet. You just have to play with it a little to see how thick you want your bread. It is hard to mess up. I used to use self-rising flour and meal so leavening was not a problem. Now I try to guess on the amount and add baking powder and salt. I usually add 1 rounded tsp baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt to small skillet, 2 rounded tsp baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt to middle size, or 3 rounded tsp baking powder and ¾ teaspoon salt to large.

I think the recommended amount is 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ tsp salt to 1 cup flour or meal. For the powdered milk, I just pour some in dry into the other dry ingredients. You could also use milk from a bottle, but it is harder for me to get it right. I probably add 1/3 cup to the middle size. I dont measure, so Im not sure. If you want to use butter milk, you need to add a little bit of baking soda to dry ingredients-- probably ½ teaspoon to middle-size. I think that buttermilk batters look thicker than they really are and are harder to make come out right. When I use buttermilk (from a bottle), I try to keep the batter a little thicker than normal. For the water, I slowly add running tap water until the thickness looks right.

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