Cornbread, prepared as a muffin. Native Americans had been using ground corn maize for food thousands of years2 before European explorers arrived in the New World. European settlers, especially those who resided in the English Southern Colonies, learned the original recipes and processes for corn dishes from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek, and soon they devised recipes for using cornmeal in breads similar to those made of grains available in Europe. Cornbread has been called a cornerstone of the Cuisine of the Southern United States. Cornmeal is produced by grinding dry raw corn grains. A coarser meal compare flour made from corn is grits. Grits are produced by soaking raw corn grains in hot water containing calcium hydroxide an alkaline salt, which loosens the grain hulls bran and increases the nutritional value of the product by increasing available niacin and available amino acids. These are separated by washing and flotation in water, and the now softened slightly swelled grains are called hominy. Hominy, posole in Spanish, also is ground into masa harina for tamales and tortillas. This ancient Native American technology has been named nixtamalization. Besides cornbread, Native Americans used corn to make numerous other dishes from the familiar hominy grits to alcoholic beverages such as Andean chicha. Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different formshigh rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried as unleavened pone, corn fritters, hoecakes, etc. Types of cornbreadeditCornbread is a popular item in Southern cooking enjoyed by many people for its texture and aroma. Make a classic chicken and dumplings recipe even more Southern by topping the vegetableandchickenpacked stew with cornbread dumplings. Cornbread can be baked, fried or, rarely, steamed. Steamed cornbread is mushy, chewier and more like cornmeal pudding than what most consider to be traditional cornbread. Cornbread can also be baked into corn cakes. Baked cornbreadeditCornbread is a common bread in United States cuisine, particularly associated with the South and Southwest, as well as being a traditional staple for populations where wheat flour was more expensive. In some parts of the South it is crumbled into a glass of cold milk or buttermilk and eaten with a spoon, and it is also widely eaten with barbecue and chili con carne. In parts of the southern and southwestern United States, cornbread, accompanied by pinto beans, has been a common lunch for many people. It is still a common side dish, often served with homemade butter, chunks of onion or scallions. Cornbread crumbs are also used in some poultry stuffings cornbread stuffing is particularly associated with Thanksgiving turkeys. In the United States, northern and southern cornbread are different because they generally use different types of corn meal and varying degrees of sugar and eggs. Southern cornbread has traditionally been made with little or no sugar and smaller amounts of flour or no flour, with northern cornbread being sweeter and more cake like. Southern cornbread traditionally used white cornmeal and buttermilk. Other ingredients such as pork rinds are sometimes used. Cornbread is occasionally crumbled and served with cold milk or clabber buttermilk, similar to cold cereal. In Texas, Mexican influence has spawned a hearty cornbread made with fresh or creamed corn kernels and jalapeo peppers and topped with shredded cheese. Cornbread is typically eaten with molasses in the southern states and honey in the northern states. Skillet fried or skillet baked cornbread often simplified to cornbread or skillet bread is a traditional staple in the rural United States, especially in the South. This involves heating bacon drippings, lard or other oil in a heavy, well seasonedcast iron skillet in an oven, and then pouring a batter made from cornmeal, egg, and milk directly into the hot grease. The mixture is returned to the oven to bake into a large, crumbly and sometimes very moist cake with a crunchy crust. This bread tends to be dense and is usually served as an accompaniment rather than as a bread served as a regular course. In addition to the skillet method, such cornbread also may be made in sticks, muffins, or loaves. A slightly different variety, cooked in a simple baking dish, is associated with northern U. S. cuisine it tends to be sweeter and lighter than southern style cornbread the batter for northern style cornbread is very similar to and sometimes interchangeable with that of a corn muffin. A typical contemporary northern U. S. cornbread recipe contains half wheat flour, half cornmeal, milk or buttermilk, eggs, leavening agent, salt, and usually sugar, resulting in a bread that is somewhat lighter and sweeter than the traditional southern version. Unlike fried variants of cornbread, baked cornbread is a quick bread that is dependent on an egg based protein matrix for its structure though the addition of wheat flour adds gluten to increase its cohesiveness. The baking process gelatinizes the starch in the cornmeal, but still often leaves some hard starch to give the finished product a distinctive sandiness not typical of breads made from other grains. Corn poneeditCorn pone sometimes referred to as Indian pone is a type of cornbread made from a thick, malleable cornmeal dough which is usually egg less and milk less and cooked in a specific type of iron pan over an open fire such as a frontiersman would use, using butter, margarine, shortening, or cooking oil. Corn pones have been a staple of Southern U. S. cuisine, and have been discussed by many American writers, including Mark Twain. In the Appalachian Mountains, cornbread baked in a round iron skillet, or in a cake pan of any shape, is still referred to as a pone of cornbread as opposed to hoe cakes, the term for cornbread fried in pancake style and when biscuit dough i. American sense of the word is occasionally baked in one large cake rather than as separate biscuits, this is called a biscuit pone. The term corn pone is sometimes used derogatorily to refer to one who possesses certain rural, unsophisticated peculiarities hes a corn pone, or as an adjective to describe particular rural, folksy or hick characteristics e. This pejorative term often is directed at persons from rural areas of the southern and midwestern US. A character in the Lil Abner comic strip, General Jubilation T Cornpone, was a mythical Civil War general from Dogpatch known for his retreats and imputed cowardice. President John F. Kennedys staffers, who were mostly Northeastern. Ivy League elites, openly mocked Texan. Vice President. Lyndon B. Johnsons rural speech patterns, referring to Johnson behind his back as Uncle Cornpone or Rufus Cornpone. Hot water cornbreadeditCooked on a rangetop, one frying method involves pouring a small amount of liquid batter made with boiling water and self rising cornmeal cornmeal with soda or some other chemical leavener added into a skillet of hot oil, and allowing the crust to turn golden and crunchy while the center of the batter cooks into a crumbly, mushy bread. These small 3 4 diameter fried breads are soft and very rich. Rice Breakfast. Sometimes, to ensure the consistency of the bread, a small amount of wheat flour is added to the batter. This type of cornbread is often known as hot water or scald meal cornbread and is unique to the American South. JohnnycakeseditPouring a batter similar to that of skillet fried cornbread, but slightly thinner, into hot grease atop a griddle or a skillet produces a pancake like bread called a johnnycake. This type of cornbread is prevalent in New England, particularly in Rhode Island, and also in the American Midwest and the American South. Sweet Country Cornbread Recipe. You can use yellow, white or blue cornmeal to make this classic cornbread.