The soft crumb and tender moisture of cornbread is unmatched by any other bread. For winter festivities this bread can easily be made into savory stuffing, served as a side to an entrée, or sliced in half lengthwise for a post-celebratory sandwich of leftovers. This recipe elevates the usual cornbread by adding honey and freshly harvested herbs, which infuses the bread with a sweet floral aroma and taste.
So many of the wheat, and thus gluten heavy dishes that exist in our cuisine are completely unnecessary. I’m convinced that wheat flour is the base in the bulk of recipes that it appears in simply because it is cheap and readily available, not for the texture, flavor, and almost nonexistent health benefits that it contains. There is no need to use wheat flour in cornbread. By mixing the cornmeal with white rice flour, one avoids gluten and wheat allergens while maintaining the lightness and balance that a mild flour imparts. This recipe easily replaces buttermilk’s sweet tang by adding apple cider vinegar to unsweetened almond milk, which makes the bread available to those with dairy allergies.
For a winter warming stuffing, once the bread is cooled, cut it into small squares and let it air dry for a day or two or set it in a convection oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, turning it occasionally to ensure even drying.
1 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup medium ground cornmeal
1 cup white rice flour (for more health benefits, try brown rice flour)
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper powder
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Add the vinegar to the almond milk, mix, and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Whisk together the acidulated milk and cornmeal, and set the mix aside for 10 minutes.
4. Combine the white rice flour, cayenne, baking soda and powder, and salt in another bowl. Mix these ingredients together.
5. After the 10 minutes have passed, add the olive oil, honey, eggs, and chopped herbs to the cornmeal/almond milk mixture. Whisk these ingredients together.
6. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well.
7. Divide the corn bread batter into two glass baking dishes coated in a thin layer of olive oil.
8. Place the dishes in the oven and cook the mixture for about 20-25 minutes. Midway through the cooking process, turn the dishes around in the oven to ensure even baking. Test to see if the cornbread is cooked after 20 minutes. If the bread is cooked, one should be able to place a toothpick or fork in the center that comes out clean of batter, with only an occasional crumb clinging to it.
9. Let the bread cool for about 20 minutes before serving. If you do not want to serve the bread immediately, once cooled, cover it. The cornbread can last for a few days out of the refrigerator or up to a 10 days in the frige.