A traditional staple in America’s south, cornbread goes great with dishes like pulled pork because of its slight sweetness and rustic, gritty texture that soaks up sauces well. This simple recipe for cornbread requires little more than mixing wet ingredients into dry ones with your hands and letting your oven do the rest of the work. And it's wonderfully versatile: it’s delicious on its own but also makes a great base for different variations. Sometimes we add fried bacon bits and shaved Parmesan cheese; other times we throw in sweet corn kernels. Just gently fold in any add-ons after you’ve mixed the batter. This is lovely paired with fried chicken, too.
1¼ cups plain flour
½ cup polenta (yellow cornmeal)
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup powdered milk
2 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs (at least 60g each)
½ cup water
1/3 cup corn oil
1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, polenta, sugar, powdered milk, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine. Make a well in the centre of this mixture.
3. Combine the eggs, water and corn oil in a separate bowl and whisk to mix.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the well of the flour mixture and stir by hand until the batter is evenly moistened. Gently break up any lumps with your fingers.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean and the cornbread springs back when lightly pressed with your finger.
6. Allow the cornbread to cool down slightly before running a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it. This can be baked a day or two ahead and stored in an air-tight container in the fridge. To reheat, wrap the cornbread in foil and bake in the oven at 150°C for 15 to 20 minutes.