Cornbread is my Soul Food

As fall sets in and the leaves are turning, and a light crisp breeze brushes across your cheeks, you know its time to get cozy. I love the light in the fall, warming and orange and am often reminded of my younger childhood years. Fall to me is always full of excitement. School starts, family birthdays are almost every weekend, and Halloween and Thanksgiving are only days away. Scarves and wool sweaters, boots tall or short, start coming out of the back corners of the closet. It is like a new chapter, a new beginning, and a new mindset. So bring on the rain, bring on the winds, and let those few sunny days warm your heart. Its time to start those fireplaces, stock up on teas and cocoa, and huddle around with your favorite people for a game of cards.

Cornbread is my soul food. The coarse ground grits of corn and the delicate hint of maple syrup make my stomach grumble. Even more so, I love it pan toasted in pasture-raised butter. This tops fresh baked cornbread any day! With fall fully present, it is time to break out the comfort foods of cold weather days. Last year I discovered a wonderful recipe by Sally Fallon in her Nourishing Traditions cookbook. This is the recipe I will share with you today and remains to this date the only way I make cornbread.

Most cornbreads I have tried use half or less than half cornmeal. Not only that but the rest is substituted with white flour. This recipe is made mostly with cornmeal and then additional spelt and whole-wheat flours are used. Although light in fat and light in sugar, this recipe remains flavorful and moist. It is simple and easy. All it requires is a day of forethought for optimal fermentation.

Using cornmeal in place of flour products allows you to bring in both B vitamins as well as antioxidants vitamin A and vitamin C into your diet. Also cornmeal is a good source of whole grain fiber. The fermentation process in this cornbread recipe helps reduce the phytic acid content, which can bind to essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and zinc. Soaking grains in an acidic medium, such as the lime and yogurt, activate the production of phytase, an enzyme produced by good bacteria. Phytase helps neutralize the phytic acid allowing the magnesium, calcium, and zinc available in the grains to be absorbed instead of excreted.

So hurray for fermentation, and yay for some good tasty cornbread!!

Fermented Cornbread (adapted from Nourishing Traditions)
Makes 16 servings
2 cups medium ground cornmeal
½ cup spelt flour
½ whole-wheat flour
1 ½ cups filtered water
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup organic maple syrup (or honey)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking soda

1.  Soak cornmeal and other flours in the water, lime juice, and yogurt. Allow to sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. It will rise better if soaked for 24 hours.
2.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and pour into a buttered/oiled pan (I used a large cast iron skillet)
3.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
4. Enjoy fresh and warm…..or like me,  heat another iron skillet/pan place a little bit of butter in the center and “toast” a slice of cornbread in the butter. You will find a simply delicious and crispy treat awaiting you!

Optional: Personally I like cornbread kept simple, but you can add cheese, chilies, and/or fresh corn to the recipe to add additional flavors and textures.

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