Need to Know
Buy the best
Purchase fresh, stone-ground cornmeal; it has a clean, subtly sweet corn flavor. Small-scale grist mills source the best corn, carefully process their meal, and often grind daily. Bob’s Red Mill is a good stone-ground supermarket variety.Boost your buttermilk
Buttermilk is typically lean. Supplementing it with a little sour cream adds tenderness and a touch more tang to your cornbread.Make mush
Stone-ground cornmeal includes some of the kernel’s hull and germ and doesn’t readily absorb moisture or fat, which can result in a dry, crumbly texture. Adding boiling water to a portion of the cornmeal helps draw out its flavor and produce a moister cornbread. The water must be boiling hot, though, or the cornmeal won’t absorb it.Mix sparingly
As with pancakes and muffins, overmixing will make your cornbread less tender. Stir just until the wet and dry ingredients are combined.Make bread, not cake
Some cornbreads eschew sugar, while others use so much that they’re practically desserts. Only a couple of tablespoons are needed to really draw out the corn flavor. Try drizzling a slice with honey if you want to sweeten things up even more.