Happy Thanksgiving, America!
My contribution to my family's annual Thanksgiving celebration this weekend will be cornbread. So I have spent most evenings this week practicing my baking. I discussed baking technique with Sam and Hrafnkell on Facebook a little bit, performed some experiments and have ended up slightly modifying the recipe I got from my mom.
First off, being a snob for "real food", I decided I wanted to use regular Icelandic butter instead of margarine. Icelandic butter is salted, so I had to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe a little bit to compensate, but didn't know by how much. The first batch was not salty enough, the second way too salty. I also reduced the sugar slightly, as the first loaf was too sweet for my tastes.
Third batch: good!
By accident I also baked the 2nd one about twice as long as recommended and yet it still came out somewhat moist and quite edible. Apparently cornbread is hard to ruin completely...
It seems that the chemistry of using full fat milk and salted butter changes things enough that the first two loafs were too dense. Based on advice from Hrafnkell, in the third one I replaced some of the milk with Icelandic buttermilk (súrmjólk). It came out fluffier!
It seems my oven is also different enough that instead of the 20-25 minutes baking time called for in the original recipe, 25-30 minutes is more like it.
So here is the third loaf's recipe, which I am going to follow for this weekend:
- 0.5dl sugar
- 2.4dl polenta (cornmeal)
- 2.4dl flour
- One non-scientific teaspoon of salt
- 0.15dl baking powder
- 0.8dl Icelandic salted butter
- 1.5dl nýmjólk (milk)
- 1.0dl súrmjólk (buttermilk)
- 1 egg
Ingredients are mixed together in the order stated above: dry stuff mixed together first, followed by butter I melt by microwaving it for 15 seconds and then stir in until most of the big clumps are gone, followed by the milks and egg. Per the original recipe I am not aiming for a completely even consistency, it should be a tad lumpy.
Baked in a pre-heated oven at 200° for 25-30 minutes.
After all this experimenting, I expect I'm going to be eating cornbread with most meals until I either get sick of it or it goes completely stale. :-)