The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Friday, February 6, 2015

Southern Cracklin' Bread -- My Midwestern Way

I had recently rendered pork lard, and when I mentioned it on a Facebook group I belonged to, the southern lady members of the group encouraged me to make cracklin' bread with the cracklins that were the end result of said rendering process.  Actually, one lady commented that she loved it, and another commented that she couldn't stand it.  So my curiosity was piqued, and I needed to try it.  One posted the link to a recipe, which I read, then after skimming the comments and suggestions, I decided to give it a whirl.  I'm so glad I did!

Oh, and I'm so glad I'm a Midwestern gal--never one to really toe the line, but to question, read, research, and try changing things a bit according to my own tastes.  Don't worry, I don't do this with my faith, just with my cooking.  Once I'm convinced of something--Jesus being one of those things--you won't ever get me to back down.  I'm solid and I'm steady--I'll just give you one of my deadpan looks, and let you figure out what it means.

Back on topic...

Where have you Southerners been hiding this recipe all these years??  I'm so glad I have some southern friends!!

This is basically corn bread, made with buttermilk, and add some pork (think bacon) and of course, everything tastes better with bacon.  It's bacon.  It literally was a warm, soft, crumbly, amazing corn bread, and with butter that melted into it--you just can't get better.  I'm going to have to stretch out the remaining cracklin's I've been storing!

Southern Cracklin' Bread (Corn Bread)

1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1/4 cup flour (I use whole-wheat pastry flour)
2 tablespoons cane juice crystals (or sugar)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons pork lard (or shortening or bacon fat)
1/2 cup crushed pork cracklin's or cooked bacon (I chopped my cracklin's with a food chopper)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 9x9" baking dish (I use glass, and grease with pork lard).

In a small bowl, combine the egg and buttermilk.  In a larger bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, cane juice crystals, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Using a fork, mix in pork lard until it's incorporated--it should look a little crumbly without larger lard-y clumps. 

Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture and stir until smooth.  Gently mix in the cracklin's and cheese; pour batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 20-30 minutes (start with 20!), until center is set and the top is golden.  Test for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester in center.  Serve warm, with butter and honey.

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