It’s fall season as I’m writing this, and I am thinking about chili, which always calls for delicious cornbread. This sourdough cornbread is fluffy, tender, light and absolutely my favorite cornbread to make this time of year. It is quick to whip up and makes the perfect side dish for dinner. My little guy loves it so much that he begs to pack it in his lunchbox the day after I bake some (and that’s saying something because he is hard to please!). I alternate between this fluffy sourdough cornbread and these more savory mini cornbread muffins. If you are a sourdough baker, you definitely need a sourdough cornbread recipe in your back pocket…and this is the one!
Sourdough Discard in Cornbread
If you know me, you know I’m always looking for ways to use up some sourdough discard. I love the health benefits (all that “good” bacteria that help maintain a stable, healthy digestive system) and less food waste. Both of these things contribute to me adding sourdough discard to a lot of my baked goods. Waffles, biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, you name it…I will try it! Fluffy sourdough cornbread is no different. If you don’t have discard on hand you can also use sourdough starter instead for similar health benefits. Because this recipe uses a lot of discard, it’s important to use discard that is 100% hydration (meaning it’s been fed equal weights water and flour). If you use discard with a higher hydration, you’ll want to add a little more flour to the cornbread. Conversely if you use a lower hydration discard you’ll want a little less flour. I recommend using a young/fresh discard that is less than a week old (refrigerated) . The longer the discard sits around, the more sour it becomes.
White or Yellow Cornmeal – What’s the Difference?
I live in Kentucky which is culturally Southern, and in the South we enjoy cornbread. Traditional Kentucky cornbread is made with white cornmeal. In other areas such as the Northeast and Texas, you may find yellow cornmeal commonly called for in recipes. The difference is simply that white cornmeal comes from white corn and yellow cornmeal from a yellow corn. They can be used interchangeably in recipes. I love using this cornmeal from our local mill or in a pinch I’ll pick a bag up at my grocery store. You may also see cornmeal labeled as “bolted.” Bolted means that the cornmeal has been ground finely and is sifted through to give you the finest grain. Unbolted cornmeal has a more “gritty” texture. For this recipe I recommend a bolted, or finely ground cornmeal, either white or yellow will work.
Looking for More Sourdough Discard Recipes?
Sweet or Savory Sourdough Cornbread
This recipe as written tends to be a little on the sweeter side as far as cornbread goes. It isn’t so sweet that you’d mind drizzling some honey on top, but if you prefer a more savory cornbread, reduce the sugar by about half. Use 70 grams (about 1/3 cup) of sugar instead of 140 grams (about 2/3 cup). The cornbread will still taste delicious, it just won’t be quite as sweet and you may have a bit more sourdough flavor come through.
Mixing the Sourdough Cornbread
To a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Use a large liquid measuring cup (this 4 cup one is my favorite) to whisk the melted butter, oil, eggs, milk and sourdough discard together. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and mix together. It’s important to do this gently. You want to keep the gluten strands from forming in the flour, so a light hand and quick mix until just incorporated works best for tender, fluffy cornbread. This cornbread batter is fairly runny, so don’t be surprised that it’s not a thick batter.
Use a Metal Pan for Crispy Edges
Do you love the crispy edges of cornbread? They may be my favorite. Either that or the middle piece for me–depends on my mood. In order to get those crispy edges, use a greased metal pan. I bake this cornbread in an 8 by 8 pan because I love a nice thick slice of tender cornbread, but you could also use a 9 by 9 pan if you wanted the slices a little bit thinner (err on the side of a shorter baking time if you do this). I typically spray my pan with avocado oil cooking spray, but any good quality oil will do. The oil in combination with a metal pan will help get those crispy, delicious cornbread edges. A cast iron skillet would also work well, though I haven’t tried it yet.
Bake and Enjoy
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30-35 minutes. The cornbread will puff up and rise as it bakes. Make sure the center is not jiggly and is baked through–use a toothpick inserted in the middle to check if it comes out clean. Let the cornbread cool a bit before slicing and serving. I love to serve this warm with some softened butter and a drizzle of honey on top. Cooled cornbread can also be served at room temperature or heat it up just a bit for a really delicious snack. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do with leftover Sourdough Cornbread?
This cornbread can be left covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Anything longer than 24 hours and I would slice and freeze the cornbread in a ziplock bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost, warm up and enjoy!
Can I make this recipe into muffins?
Yes! Fill muffins about 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes.
Does this recipe double well?
Yes. Bake it in a 9 by 13 pan, though it may need a few extra minutes of baking time.
Fluffy Sourdough Cornbread
- 90 grams cornmeal white or yellow, about 1/2 cup
- 145 grams all purpose flour about 1 cup
- 140 grams sugar about 2/3 cup
- 14 grams baking powder about 1 Tablespoon
- 7 grams salt about 1 teaspoon
- 45 grams unsalted butter melted
- 75 grams neutral flavored oil vegetable or coconut
- 2 large eggs about 100 grams
- 200 grams milk 2% or whole, about 3/4 cup
- 200 grams sourdough discard 100% hydration, about 2/3 cup stirred down
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To a medium-sized bowl, add the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt). Whisk together until incorporated and set aside.
- Add the butter to a large liquid measuring cup and melt in the microwave, stopping before the butter gets too hot (warm is okay, hot is not). Pour the oil on top of the melted butter and whisk in the eggs one at a time until combined. Add the milk and sourdough discard. Whisk together until mostly combined.
- Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. The batter will be fairly runny.
- Spray an 8 by 8 metal pan (or 9 by 9 for thinner cornbread) with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Slather with butter and honey or slice up to go with a nice bowl of chili. Enjoy!