Sweet Skillet Corn Bread with Bacon and Fresh Cut Corn

Cut Corn Bread

Can you believe I’ve made it through the tenth bread in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge? I was a little surprised to see a quick bread recipe in the book, but I’m really happy that Mr. Reinhart decided to include this corn bread.

It’s sweet and dense, without being too heavy.  The slices were crispy on the outside, but very moist inside.  The sweetness of the fresh cut corn is nicely balanced out by the salty bacon on top.  I pretty much loved everything about it!

Of course I’m from California and I grew up eating a fairly sweet corn bread.

Hot Corn Bread

This isn’t a corn bread that needs a bowl of black-eyed peas.  It doesn’t even need butter.  This corn bread can stand alone.  Although it’s probably sweet enough for dessert, I actually enjoyed it most for breakfast.  But it also paired nicely with the braised short ribs my sister and Aunt prepared last week after falling under the spell of The Barefoot Contessa.

But the thing about this ‘quick bread’ recipe is that it isn’t so quick.  It requires you to soak some coarse-ground cornmeal in buttermilk overnight.  You also have to saw the kernels off a few cobs of corn and fry up some bacon before you can proceed with the recipe.  But that is a small price to pay for such a big reward!

Corn Bread Overhead

The recipe said to use a 10-inch round cake pan for the bread, but I prefer corn bread baked in a cast iron skillet.  I preheated my 10-inch skillet in the oven and poured in some of the leftover bacon drippings and swirled them around.  The book actually instructed me to do this, but you know I would have done it anyway.  After pouring in the batter and hearing that satisfying sizzle, you sprinkle crumbled bacon over the top and gently press it in before returning the skillet to the oven.

The only problem I had with the recipe was the cooking time.  My corn bread took about 45 minutes to bake through, not 30 minutes as the book suggested.  Everyone else had the same issue, so it wasn’t just my oven.  Make sure you keep that in mind if you’re going to give this one a try.  And really, I think you should give it a try.  The recipe can be found on page 151 of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

Corn Bread Missing a Slice

For those of you who are participating in The BBA Challenge, here are some questions:  How did you like the Corn Bread?   Did you make any changes?  Would you make it again?

And remember, if you wrote a blog post about the Corn Bread, or have photos available online, please leave a comment and share your link!

The Next Bread

Next we will be making Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread.  We have the option of using other types of dried fruit or nuts, so I’m actually making Cherry Pecan Celebration Bread.  The instructions begin on page 154 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  I have to tell you that I’m ready to get past these sweet breads, but at least I’ll get some more practice braiding bread dough!  Good luck and happy baking!

Want to Bake Along With Us?

There are several ways for you to join in the fun!  First of all, you need a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  Read the first section of the book carefully, as this will prepare you for the bread recipes in the second section of the book.  Then just jump in and bake some Anadama Bread, which is the first recipe in the book.  But first, please visit The BBA Challenge Page for more details on how to participate in the group!

If you haven’t already, you might want to bookmark the BBA Challenge Page.  From there you can see which breads are coming up soon, find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit and/or add yourself to our World Map, see the BBA Challenge Blogroll, and check out the continually updated slideshow of BBA Bread photos from our ever-expanding group of bakers!

Corn Bread from other BBA Challenge members:

  1. Judy

    Yours looks beautiful! I guess maybe it is a regional thing. I sure didn’t like this I thought it was way too sweet and more cake like than bread like. Oh well, I have a recipe that I like already.


    4:45 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  2. Phoo-D

    I really enjoyed the corn bread too. How can you go wrong with bacon? I added a diced serrano pepper and then cooked it for the last 10 minutes over hardwood grill with hickory smoke. It turned out to be an incredible way to finish the cornbread and I will absolutely do it again next time. Here’s the photo: http://www.phoo-d.com/2009/07/c-is-for-ciabatta-cinnamon-rolls-and.html You are very right, a cast iron skillet is the way to go when cooking corn bread!

    4:48 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  3. Nancy (n.o.e.)

    When the Tuesdays With Dorie group made corn muffins you wouldn’t believe the sweet vs. nonsweet hoopla that ensued! I grew up in the North but have lived in the South, and have eaten – and liked – all types of cornbread. When I make this one in a few weeks I think I’ll halve the sweetener. A cast iron skillet is the way to go, although a Southerner would tell you cornbread made that way needs to not be sweet. (Sweet is for everything else in the Southern diet!)

    4:50 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  4. Nicole

    Nancy: If I were you, I would cut out the granulated sugar and use part of the brown sugar and all of the honey as I think they added a great flavor in addition to sweetness!

    4:56 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  5. Ruby

    Well you know I’m a huge bacon fan! Looks fabulous!

    5:00 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  6. kellypea

    Looks wonderful to me, and I can’t wait to try this one — in fact I just may do some shuffling of recipes to get to it sooner. I like cornbread in a skillet, too. The crust is always amazing. I think cornbread is just one of those personal recipes that everyone has a favorite rendition of. I think they’re all unique, so as long as it’s tasty, what difference does it make ; ) Thinking the bacon will be terrific in this.

    5:03 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  7. Phyl

    Nice job, Nicole! I really liked this cornbread, too, even without the bacon. I wish I had thought to bake it in cast iron. I used a stoneware baking pan, and it came out really nice.

    5:06 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  8. Danielle

    Your skillet technique has me all curious now! How does a skillet-baked bread differ from that baked in a loaf pan?

    5:08 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  9. Kelly

    I was disappointed with mine, but I think I want to give it another go and make some changes, the changes being to follow the recipe! I made a few changes/shortcuts and I think it was detrimental to the end result. But the biggest problem was bitterness from (I assume) the baking powder. I bought new powder, so I think I should give it another go. I really want to like this. 🙂

    Here’s my post: http://www.somethingshinyblog.com/2009/07/bba-challenge-week-10-corn-bread.html

    5:12 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  10. JIM-49

    Well Nicole,I think yours looks just fine!! And,I would love to try the chicken skin!! I was raised on this corn bread,and I made some last week,with some fine new collard greens.But best of all,I kept seeing the,”The Bread Baker’s Apprentice ” book,and mine came in yesterday!! And,you can believe it or not,I got it out of the package,and the small,5 year old granddaughter,run to the bedroom,and looked at every page.Then,had three things to cook,all you got to do,is help measure it out,she can mix,and go with it. To give the bread,a little old time crust,put a little bacon grease,in the cast iron skillet!! Love the site,books,and all your hard work!!!

    6:01 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  11. mags

    Geeze Nicole, your cornbread looks so pretty in your skillet! I agree that the cooking time is way off. In fact, my first batch got thrown out because I completely undercooked it and ended up with a mess. The second batch I made into muffins because I felt more comfortable with the timing of those. My post is here: http://othersideof50.blogspot.com/2009/07/cornbread-bba-challenge.html

    6:02 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  12. Charles Thompson

    Wow! Cornbread that I can cook in my favorite pan – my Lodge cast iron skillet – AND it has bacon in it. Sign me up. While reading the post I was thinking how warmly homey it sounds; comforting in other words. I look forward to giving this recipe a try very soon. Thanks Nicole.

    6:21 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  13. Sean

    I really want to make this, but my wife says bacon is not allowed in cornbread, so we seem to have a problem…

    7:16 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  14. Jodi

    Wow I never thought to combine the two! Looks super delicious!

    7:44 pm  Aug 4th, 2009
  15. The Blushing Hostess

    That is beautiful, if only I could eat such a thing. Maybe I could, while doing double time ont he treadmill!

    2:25 am  Aug 5th, 2009
  16. Jessica

    That cornbread sounds so appetizing! My stomach is grumbling as I write this comment. I love, love, love cornbread but have yet to find a recipe that meets those expectations. This one looks very promising, I need to get a copy of that book!

    5:25 am  Aug 5th, 2009
  17. Lyndsey

    I love cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet! Yours looks wonderful, can’t go wrong with bacon. It looks like a meal by itself, breakfast anyway.

    6:28 am  Aug 5th, 2009
  18. Valérie

    Oh, yum! I keep coming across cornbread recipes, these days (on cooking shows and in books), but as far as photography goes, yours takes the cake (so to speak)!

    7:00 am  Aug 5th, 2009
  19. gammaraygirl

    Done this one a couple of times before. I do like it. Am a northerner so the sweet is fine with me. Just never had the coarse cornmeal before trying this recipe. Still getting used to the mouth/tooth feel of the hard grains of coarse cornmeal (still kinda crunchy even after the overnight soak). Still I keep making it. LOVE LOVE the fresh corn and the bacon!!!

    8:44 am  Aug 5th, 2009
  20. Paula - bell'alimento

    Hi Nicole – beautiful pics as usual. Wow I didn’t even think to put it in my cast iron skillet! I was one of the ones who didn’t like it 🙁 I might give it a go with some of the modifications that were mentioned! Here is the link to mine http://www.bellalimento.com/2009/07/17/cornbread/

    8:46 am  Aug 5th, 2009
  21. Daniel

    I know you are jealous of my DLX, but at this moment I am totally jealous of your cast iron pan. They’re quite expensive here, so when I had to get one, I got the biggest one I could find, which, unfortunately for baking, but awesome for cooking, came with a wooden handle.

    Here’s my cornbread, baked in a springform pan because, as I’ve learned, every cake pan in Germany is a springform pan: http://aehrelichgesagt.blogspot.com/2009/07/bba-challenge-10-corn-bread.html

    9:59 am  Aug 5th, 2009
  22. The Duo Dishes

    Intensely bacon! Full of flavor.

    11:50 am  Aug 5th, 2009
  23. My First Kitchen

    Fabulous. Bacon makes everything taste better, and since I have a couple ears of corn waiting for a home, this might have to end up in my oven. Awesome.

    12:05 pm  Aug 5th, 2009
  24. Dianne

    Hey Nicole, thank you for including a link to my corn bread in this post! I really appreciate it! Meanwhile, your corn bread looks delectable. Seeing your results, I wish I had gone with my instinct to use a cast-iron skillet!

    1:50 pm  Aug 5th, 2009
  25. Deb

    This was my least favorite bread so far but then I have never been a huge fan of cornbread anyway!

    As always, your photos look great!


    2:20 pm  Aug 5th, 2009
  26. ATigerintheKitchen

    JUST gorgeous, as usual! It looks so pretty in the skillet….nice job.

    3:21 pm  Aug 5th, 2009
  27. pam

    Now, that is some cornbread!

    4:34 pm  Aug 5th, 2009
  28. Rebeca

    Looks great. I did mine gluten free and it was good too. http://carriedonthewind.blogspot.com/2009/08/bba-challenge-9-10.html

    4:58 pm  Aug 5th, 2009
  29. cheffresco

    Looks good! Michael would love this (aka. bacon:)

    6:22 pm  Aug 5th, 2009
  30. Di

    Wow, another fantastic bread! My husband is totally going to love this one when I get to it.

    8:23 am  Aug 8th, 2009
  31. Wizzythestick

    Gosh, I want to run out and buy a cast iron pan just so I could make this bread!

    9:34 pm  Aug 8th, 2009
  32. Mrs.L

    Yum, this sounds so good. Iv’e been craving a good corn bread lately and this should fit the bill.

    12:48 pm  Aug 11th, 2009
  33. Andrea

    I made mine on Monday and I actually made chili to go with it (in August). I had to, it’s one of my hubby’s favs – chili and cornbread. And now there’s no going back to a box of Jiffy, that’s for sure! I also had an issue with cooking time. I made mine in a 9x13pan, and it cooked for about 45 minutes (and probably could have standed another 5-10 minutes! It was super moist inside. I can’t beileve I am saying this, but in pairing it with chili again, I would probalby ditch the bacon. But it was very nice to have for breakfast the next day. But definitely a keeper of a recipe!

    11:55 am  Aug 12th, 2009
  34. Jon T.

    I love this recipe! It’s one of those very rich dishes (because of all the bacon) that works well with Thanksgiving dinner. It always gets raves.

    3:18 pm  Aug 15th, 2009
  35. Natalie

    I LOVE that you used the cast iron! Too many people are afraid of using it, and miss out on so much flavor and textures. I couldn’t tell if you used corn, but I have a similar recipe that uses fresh corn and cheddar cheese. It is delicious.

    4:42 pm  Aug 19th, 2009
  36. Sean

    I’m going to make this, whether my wife approves of bacon in cornbread or not…

    I am wondering how critical the overnight soak is. Anyone have a guess as to what would happen if I just soaked it for a few hours? I kinda hate overnight recipes… When you soak it overnight, do you really do it from the night before until the next evening, or just the next morning? Seems odd to leave buttermilk out at room temp for almost 24 hours, but I’m probably too paranoid.

    8:23 pm  Aug 22nd, 2009
  37. AP269

    Unfortunately, this bread was another big disappointment for me. Oh well… Yours looks great, though!!!!!! Not gummy at all! Here’s my post: http://ap269.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/bba-challenge-10-corn-bread/

    1:37 pm  Oct 4th, 2009
  38. Abby

    Thanks for the cast iron skillet idea…loved it! Made mine tonight: http://mixitbakeit.blogspot.com/2009/10/bba-10-corn-bread.html

    6:42 pm  Oct 14th, 2009
  39. Shannon

    I thought this bread was amazing! I decreased the amount of bacon by half and left out the corn. I actually wanted my husband to eat it, and adding corn would have meant that he wouldn’t have touched a single crumb. Here’s my link


    9:57 pm  Nov 13th, 2009
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  41. Barbara J Driggers

    Love, love corn bread. But oven is broke. Can I make it in cast iron skillet on top of stove and how would I get the top brown. As far as Cast Iron skillet. No household should be without one. I cook everything in some kind of cast iron. But Never, never buy one with a wooden handle, that is not an old fashioned cast iron skillet. Was raised on cast iron, whether cooking inside out out doors. Good Luck, your recipe was awesome and picture beautiful.

    3:04 pm  Mar 20th, 2010
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