The world of gluten-free bread can be a grim place. Too often, the frozen loaves available at most supermarkets are a visual facsimile of real bread amounting to a flavorless, edible placeholder for sandwich fillings. I’ve learned this because a member of my household is experimenting with a gluten-free diet and we have been making our way through various brands of gluten-free bread, sandwich wraps, and bagels with little success.
Whenever you’re giving anything up—bread, dairy, bacon—sometimes it’s better to just leave it behind. Substitutes can disappoint. But there’s a wealth of great information out there in the many gluten-free cookbooks that have entered the market in the past five years. Meanwhile, we have found one type of bread that’s as good as any gluten-rich loaf, and that’s a simple cornbread made with two parts cornmeal and one part gluten-free baking mix, an ingredient you can now find in many supermarkets. I adapted it from the Southern-style cornbread in my book, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, but made it just a bit sweeter for a northern audience. It’s delicious and lacks absolutely nothing. The flavor is sweet and nutty and the texture wonderfully tender. Served with butter and honey, it’s addictive.
Photo/Art by Amy Traverso
Total time: 35 minutes
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf, 8 servings
Ingredients for Gluten-Free Cornbread
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 cup medium grind cornmeal, such as Kenyon Grist Mill or Bob’s Red Mill brands
- 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose baking mix, such as King Arthur or Arrowhead Mills brands
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Method for Gluten-Free Cornbread
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and set a rack to the bottom position. Put a 10-inch oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron, in the oven to preheat as well.
2. In a microwave oven, melt the butter. Let it cool while you prep the batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, baking mix, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter. Fold everything together until the mixture is evenly blended.
3. Retrieve the pan from the oven and add the oil; swirl to coat the pan. Pour in the batter, transfer to the oven, and bake until the bread is golden brown around the edges and has pulled away from the sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.