Simple Cornbread (with less fat!)

Committee meeting working lunch, 9/6/12
Community meeting dinners: served with sausage and root vegetable stew, pork chili

This lower-fat cornbread is moist and flavorful – you’ll never have to go back to the butter-heavy cornbread of the past.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt (or use vanilla and omit sugar)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (omit if using vanilla yogurt)
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400. Grease an 8×8” pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly. In a separate medium bowl, combine yogurt, sugar, and eggs, mixing well. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes, until the bread is lightly browned and springs back when gently poked in the center.


English Muffin Batter Bread

This bread has the nooks and crannies of an English muffin, and it’s especially good for toasting. To make the bread, all you have to do is spend 5 minutes putting the ingredients together, walk away for 45 minutes, and then bake – you’ll have fresh, homemade bread in less than 90 minutes. Yes, that’s a lot longer than it takes to get bread from the store, but the results are tastier and healthier.                                                                                                              

  • Oil or butter and cornmeal or flour for dusting pan
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (1 ½ packets)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 to 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (see below for details)

Grease a loaf pan. Dust the bottom and sides with cornmeal or flour.

In a large bowl, mix wheat flour with the yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda.

Combine the milk and hot water. In the microwave or on the stovetop, heat the milk and water to about 110-120 degrees, very warm to the touch, but not too hot – like bath water.

Add the warm milk and water to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour and stir to combine. You are aiming for a soft dough – thick, but not so thick that, with effort, you couldn’t stir it with a spoon. To get to this consistency, continue to add flour gradually, until you can’t stir it in with a spoon anymore. You probably won’t need all of the flour.

When the dough is smooth and the flour is incorporated, pour into prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour. Depending on the size of the loaf pan, it may puff slightly over the sides of the pan. While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Uncover the loaf and bake for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown.

Yield: 1 loaf

Roasted Garlic Bread

Community meeting dinner, 2/27/12 – served with lasagna
Community meeting dinner, 1/23/13 – served with baked spaghetti and meatballs
Community meeting dinner, 4/3/13 – served with sausage and sweet potato stew

Roasting the garlic gives it a mellow flavor and a creamy texture, letting you make a rich-tasting garlic bread with less fat.

  • roasted garlic bread rolls2 heads garlic*
  • 4 tablespoons canola, vegetable, or olive oil, divided between roasted garlic and bread assembly
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large loaf Italian or French bread

Roasting the garlic
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Hold the head of garlic on its side and use a large knife to slice off the very top of the head (the pointed end). This will expose all the cloves inside. Repeat with the second head.

Place both heads on a large piece of aluminum foil inside a baking pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with the salt. Bring the foil up and fold to seal in the garlic.

Bake for approximately 1 hour, until cloves of garlic are completely tender. Allow to cool enough to handle. (Note: this can be done up to 4 days in advance – refrigerate roasted garlic until ready to use.)

Assembling the bread
Using your fingers, squeeze the roasted cloves of garlic out of their papery skins and into a small bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and use a fork to mash the garlic and oil into a paste.

Using a bread knife, slice the loaf of bread into pieces, but do not go all the way through – leave the bottom crust intact. Rub the garlic paste between slices, coating each portion with some of the garlic paste.

Wrap the entire loaf in aluminum foil. Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes, until heated through. Break along the scored slices to serve.

Yield: one loaf, serves 8-10.

*Garlic grows well in Nebraska and can be stored for long periods of time.

Whole Wheat Biscuits

Committee meeting working lunch, 2/9/12 – served with Boston baked beans and roasted sweet potatoes

Adapted from the Food Network

The whole wheat flour in these biscuits doesn’t make them taste like cardboard-y health food. Instead, it gives them a nutty, sweet flavor that works equally well in savory and sweet dishes.

  • 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon milk (or substitute 1 cup buttermilk and omit vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar (omit if using buttermilk)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (If desired, this can be increased to 1 ½ cups, and the all-purpose flour can be reduced to ½ cup)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (optional – use if the biscuits are going with a sweet dish)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine milk and vinegar (skip this step if using buttermilk). Stir, and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

In a large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar (if using), and salt.

Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Some larger pieces are okay.

Add the milk and vinegar (or buttermilk, if using) to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured board. Fold the dough over on itself twice, then roll or press to a 1”-thick round. Cut into circles using a glass or biscuit cutter (or go the simple route and cut into squares). Take any scraps, press them into a new 1” thick round, and cut more biscuits, handling the dough as little as possible.

Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned on top.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Committee meeting working lunch, 1/26/12 – served with mushroom barley soup

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

This recipe can be customized to use the ingredients you have on hand.

  • 1 to 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water, milk, or whey (use 1 cup in a warm, humid climate; 1 ¼ cup in a cold, dry climate)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (one packet) instant or active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil or melted and cooled butter
  • ¼ cup liquid sweetener – honey, molasses, sorghum syrup, maple syrup, or corn syrup
  • 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • if using water as liquid: ¼ cup nonfat dried milk (optional)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt

In a large bowl, combine the water, milk, or whey with the yeast, vegetable oil or butter, and liquid sweetener. Add the flour, dried milk (if using), and salt all at once and stir until all the liquid is absorbed.

Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly greased surface and knead 6-8 minutes. (You can also knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook or in a bread machine.) The kneading is done when the dough feels smooth and comes back to shape when poked. If you take a small amount and stretch it, it should make a thin “windowpane” of dough without tearing.

Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rise until puffy and almost doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

On a lightly greased surface, flatten the dough out into an 8” x 8” square. Roll the dough into a log, then place in a greased 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pan. Cover and allow to rise another 1-2 hours. The dough should rise above the sides of the pan. When the dough is almost done rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. The loaf is finished when the inside temperature is 190 degrees. Take the loaf out of the pan and tap the bottom – the finished loaf should sound hollow. Allow to cool before slicing.

Yield: 1 loaf

Bacon Buttermilk Cornbread

Committee meeting working lunch 12/13/11 – served with butternut squash soup

Committee meeting working lunch 3/22/12 – made with butter, no bacon; served with sweet potato and bean soup

This recipe is delicious with bacon, but feel free to omit it and substitute butter for the bacon fat, if desired.

adapted from

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 ⅓ cups cornmeal
  • ⅔ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or use 1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a heavy ovenproof 9-10” skillet, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until crispy. Remove the bacon to drain, then pour off and reserve bacon drippings. Place the skillet in the hot oven.

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate medium bowl, combine eggs and buttermilk, and bacon. Measure 3 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings (add butter or oil if you don’t have enough) and add to mixture.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Using a pot holder, remove the hot skillet from the oven. Add the batter and return to oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.