Buttery sweet sourdough cornbread with a slight tang thanks to the addition of sourdough discard. This recipe uses a unique baking technique that results in a fluffy, cloud-like texture that you will absolutely love.
What makes this cornbread recipe unique?
This is not your traditional or average cornbread recipe. Instead of mixing the butter in with the other ingredients, it's poured right on top of the batter in the baking tray. The batter swims in a melted honey butter mixture and absorbs all the delicious richness as it bakes. This results in a really soft, tender crumb, while the honey coats the exterior of the cornbread so you get a really sticky sweet crust. IT’S ABSOLUTE HEAVEN.
I borrowed this technique from the now internet-famous butter swim biscuits. I saw people drenching their biscuit dough in melted butter and I was totally intrigued. I tried it and fell in love with the resulting texture of the biscuits, they ended up so soft and fluffy. Although they were so unlike the flaky biscuits I loved, they had such lovely, cloud-like texture I knew I had to try this technique on other quick breads.
Why this recipe works
- This recipe has more all-purpose flour than cornmeal so it will have a fluffier, lighter texture and won’t be as crumbly as regular cornbread.
- The batter absorbs the melted honey butter mixture as it bakes resulting in a soft, cloud-like crumb and a sticky sweet crust.
- Baking powder adds lightness by leavening the cornbread while baking soda helps with browning.
- Blending a little bit of the corn kernels with milk and sourdough discard intensifies the corn flavor in this cornbread. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can skip this step!
Baking with sourdough discard
Sourdough discard adds a great tangy flavor and moisture that helps this cornbread stay moist and tasting fresh for days longer. Because it is not the main leavener in this recipe, you can use your discard directly from the refrigerator.
Since each sourdough starter is different, the flavor that yours adds to this cornbread will be unique to you. If you’re using sourdough discard that’s been in the fridge for weeks it will add a more distinctive flavor to your bake, which you won’t get when using a freshly fed starter. Both will work for this recipe but you’ll get different results.
What you need to make this recipe
All-purpose flour: imparts a soft, light texture to this cornbread
Cornmeal: adds flavor and texture, I used the Quaker Oats brand
Corn: you can use fresh sweet corn, frozen or canned, I used corn on the cob when I developed this recipe
Sourdough discard: adds a delicious tang and imparts moisture so this cornbread tastes fresher for longer
Baking powder: acts as the main raising agent
Baking soda: helps with browning
Milk and eggs: adds richness and moisture
Granulated sugar: adds sweetness and structure to the crumb
Butter: adds richness and tenderizes the crumb
Honey: adds flavor and coats the outside of the cornbread as it bakes
Salt: enhances the flavor of all of the other ingredients in the recipe
1. Melt honey and butter in a small saucepan
2. Make the batter
3. Pour batter into the cake pan
4. Top with melted honey butter and bake at 450 F for 30 minutes
You can use a 9-inch cake pan or an 8x8 inch pan as well. If you’re using a 9-inch pan be sure to start checking your cornbread sooner as it will be thinner and may bake faster. If you prefer to bake in a glass baking dish, turn your oven down to 425 F, since glass transfers more heat than metal.
You may have over mixed your batter and overdeveloped your gluten. Fold the flour into the batter gently and try not to over mix. A few streaks of flour in your batter are ok.
Another reason is your baking powder and baking soda could be past their shelf life. A good way to test this out is by combining a little bit of baking soda or baking powder with a drop of vinegar. If the mixture fizzes then they are still good to use.
Butter, eggs and milk add a lot of flavor and contributes to the great texture of this cornbread. I would not recommend leaving these ingredients out.
Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to try and develop a vegan sourdough cornbread recipe!
Yes! Use this recipe list:
169 grams (¾ cup) butter
76 grams (¼ cup) honey
277 grams (about 2 cups) corn
282 grams (1 ¼ cup) milk
100 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
150 (1 cup) cornmeal
6 grams (¾ tsp) salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
10 g (2 tsp) baking powder
256 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
Follow the same instructions and simply take out the parts that use sourdough discard.
- Blender or food processor
- Kitchen scale
- 8-inch cake pan
- 169 grams butter
- 76 grams honey
- 277 grams corn kernels
- 226 grams milk
- 114 grams sourdough discard
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 2 eggs large
- 150 grams cornmeal
- 6 grams salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 10 g baking powder
- 200 grams all-purpose flour
- Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 450 F with rack in the middle
- Make the honey butter: Combine the butter and honey in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook until butter is completely melted, stirring occasionally. Set aside and allow the mixture to cool.
- Blend corn: Combine ⅓ cup of corn, sourdough discard and milk in a blender and puree.
- Mix the wet ingredients: Whisk the corn mixture with the eggs and sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Fold in the dry ingredients: Fold the cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda into the wet ingredients. Add the all-purpose flour in three additions. Stir the remaining corn kernels in with the last addition of flour.
- Drench batter in honey butter: Pour your batter into your 8-inch cake pan. Pour the melted honey butter over the batter.
- Bake: Bake the cornbread for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, the center no longer jiggles and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Enjoy: Allow the cornbread to cool slightly before slicing. This cornbread is best enjoyed the day it's baked.
Did you make this recipe? Do you have questions? Let me know!