I only took one small bite. I swear.
This is Mary Livingston’s original recipe from the 1824 classic The Virginia Housewife. Here’s the original recipe:
Corn Meal Bread
Rub a piece of butter the size of an egg, into a pint of corn meal–Make it a batter with two eggs, and some new milk–add a spoonful of yeast, set it by the fire an hour to rise, butter little pans, and bake it.
Using yeast as a leavening agent makes for a slightly finer texture than with baking powder cornbread, as I discovered when I made this. Here’s the recipe I used:
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup milk
Salt (not enough)
1 teaspoon yeast, dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water
Butter the pan, or do what I did, and lube up the pan with lard.
Salt and a little water were my only additions to the original recipe. Keeping it old school, I cooked it over hot coals. Temp was uneven, but cast iron cooks better than almost anything.
The corn meal bread is in the #10 dutch oven, which was a little too large. A chicken and vegetables are in the larger pot. Man cannot live on corn meal bread alone.
The result? Would have been a grand slam with more salt. Still, this is a superior recipe. More people should try cornbread made with yeast. I’ll make it again for Thanksgiving.