Vera Obias' Cheddar & Black Pepper Cornbread

By • May 13, 2014 39 Comments

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Author Notes: How to make even better cornbread? Treat it more like a biscuit (or scone, or pie crust). The same cold pockets of butter that make a scone crunch outside and billow through the middle do good things for cornbread too. You can bake them into miniature loaves or free-form like scones, with a shorter baking time. Adapted from Vera Obias and Du Jour Bakery in Park Slope, Brooklyn.Genius Recipes

Makes one 9x9-inch pan

  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (166g) sugar
  • 1 cup (144g) cornmeal, preferably coarse
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (10g) salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) grated aged white cheddar
  • 8 ounces (240g) butter, cold and cubed
  • 3/4 to 1 cups buttermilk
  • Heavy cream, cracked black pepper and Maldon (or other flaky) salt for finishing
  1. Combine the first seven ingredients in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until just combined, with pea-sized chunks. Add buttermilk and pulse until dough forms. Let chill for an hour.
  2. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  3. Press dough evenly into a 9x9-inch baking pan. Brush with cream and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper. Bake until the top is golden brown and the sides start to pull away from the pan, about 25 minutes.
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Comments (39) Questions (2)

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29 days ago RipleyRocket

In the ingredient list, is this for sweet or salted butter? Thanks!

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27 days ago Stephen Dalton

It's likely to be sweet, I think, based on the amount of salt specifically stated in the recipe.

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5 months ago Chris Stone

When food processing the batter (it reads more like a batter than a dough) do you use the steel 'S' blade or ceramic dough blade for best results?

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5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I've always used the standard steel S blade -- and it really does come out more like a biscuit or scone dough than a batter. You'll see!

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6 months ago patty@bryce

Husband asked for a second batch to be made later in the week. Thought the dough looked dry going into the pan, but the bread came out wonderfully moist as the butter melted in It did take a bit longer to cook in my oven, but came out terrific.

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8 months ago Nancy

I tried it and it worked just fine.

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8 months ago Nancy

Can you chill the dough overnight?

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8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Nancy, I haven't tried this but I think the combination of leaveners plus the extra chilling time should make that okay. (If it was just baking soda, it might react immediately with the buttermilk and have no oomph left by day 2.)

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8 months ago Melinda Early

Thanks for the input, Kristen. That's what my husband found by doing some research online. Since it seemed to take longer to cook than the recipe called for, I started checking it with a tester in the middle. I took it out when it seemed to be done based on that. It wasn't exactly "clean" like you would expect with a cake, but, it after a few more minutes of baking and testing, it seemed satisfactory IMO even though I hadn't made this before. But, I think I'll take your suggestion and cut it up now while I wait for my Brussel sprouts to finish. Thanks again.

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8 months ago Melinda Early

I made this last night to take to friends' for thanksgiving. It came out of the oven gloriously puffy. This morning, however, it deflated in a perfect square in the center; still puffy around the edges. I doubt this will affect the taste , but does impact the presentation. Any thoughts on why this happened?

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8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

It sounds like it might not have baked as thoroughly in the middle. For presentation, what if you cut it into squares now, rewarm them in foil at your friend's house, and serve them in a basket with a nice tea towel? That would distract from the deflation and give you a chance to check out the middle pieces.

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8 months ago Kelley Tran

Is it still good if made a day ahead?

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8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Sorry I missed this -- yes, and you can rewarm in the oven if you want it to freshen it up a little.

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8 months ago Joy Belamarich

do you think this is doable without a food processor, K? and just cut in the butter scone/biscuit style, or use my kitchenaid?

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8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yes, just treat them like biscuits or scones and you'll be happy!

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about 1 year ago AJerusalemArtichoke

I don't care what it's called. This was one of the most delicious dishes I've ever made. I prepared the dough the day before and kept it in the fridge overnight. I baked it for an extra 15 minutes--probably because of the overnight chill. And because I got slightly lazy with my grating, I encountered more than one glorious pocket of melted cheese as I sliced for guests. Just heavenly.

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about 1 year ago Emma

A little to sweet even with 50g less sugar for my liking.

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about 1 year ago Jennifer Kaufman Gresham

I didn't find the taste of cheddar to be overwhelming, but I would think you could substitute and semi-soft cheese. I actually did half white cheddar and half spicy gouda in the biscuits. Swiss & mozzerela might get too stringy ... so, maybe havarti or gouda. You might even try shaved parmesan.

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about 1 year ago nice rice

Sorry one question regarding the cheddar cheese ,would anyone know of a substitute I might be able to use ?

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about 1 year ago Jennifer Kaufman Gresham

I made this recipe last night ... as biscuits instead of the square pan. Slightly less cooking time and brushed with buttermilk, salt & pepper. OMG! Awesome!!!

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about 1 year ago Suzie Bender

OMG! I just made this and this cornbread rocks! I substituted one of the cups of flour with corn flour, omitted the pepper and brushed the top with Buttermilk instead of cream. I also only had a 8x8 pan, so increased the cooking time by 5-6 minutes and lowered the temp by a few degrees. Amazingly moist. Thinking of using this as a substitute for my strawberries and shortcake!

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about 1 year ago Gayle

I just made this with Gluten free Flour; after baking for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, it's still not cooked. Any ideas?

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about 1 year ago Marji

About 6 oz

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about 1 year ago allison

How much does 1 1/2 cup of cheese weigh in ounces?

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about 1 year ago Marji

Organic (preferably) heavy cream gets brushed on top

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about 1 year ago Phyllis Torbjornsen

I, too, ask the question. What type of cream was used to brush on the dough? Thanking you in advance for the answer.

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about 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Apologies for the confusion -- I just added heavy cream to the recipe list, though other types of cream will work just fine.