*I recently noticed that the weight listed on the package of a popular brand of cornmeal does not match the corresponding volume measurement, potentially leading to a discrepancy for those who use that brand. (This could lead to not enough cornmeal being used if measuring with a kitchen scale.) So while I usually say that weight is the most accurate measurement, in this case it may not be. Weight of cornmeal will vary slightly based on grind (fine, medium, or coarse), so for best results I recommend scooping into cups and leveling with the straight edge of a knife.
(10/28/17 update) Also, when I originally posted this recipe, I had the occasional comment mentioning that the center was undercooked but the edges were done, which was likely tied to too little cornmeal being used. I have since raised the oven temperature to 400℉ (from the 375℉ previously recommended) because I think it does bake the bread more evenly. If you’ve had success with this recipe at 375℉, by all means stick with it. However, I now regularly cook this cornbread at 400℉ and do prefer it.
**Low-fat buttermilk works in this recipe, but for best results (as there is no other fat in this recipe aside from what is added to the skillet) I prefer the full-fat version. (If you are local and a patron of Lancaster Central Market, Maplehofe Dairy‘s buttermilk is extra delicious.) Non-dairy option: Because I have heard from many people who cannot consume cow’s milk, I have tried this recipe substituting a 14.5-ounce can of light coconut milk combined with 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice for the buttermilk, allowing the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Though this is quite untraditional and I had my doubts, the resulting cornbread rivaled the buttermilk version and was enjoyed by all. I wouldn’t hesitate to prepare it this way again.
***Purists may prefer no honey or sugar in their cornbread. The amount used in this recipe adds just a hint of sweetness; feel free to increase or reduce if desired.
A few more things:
- Finely ground cornmeal will produce a more tender crumb while a medium grind yields a hint of crunch.
- You may mix the batter and allow it to sit in the mixing bowl at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before baking.
- If you prefer to use butter in place of oil, I recommend ghee, or clarified butter. Regular butter is more likely to burn as the skillet preheats.