RECIPE: Reach for cornmeal and buttermilk this holiday season

When it comes to home baking, there are two ingredients that pack a punch yet are often overlooked: quality stone-ground cornmeal and whole-fat buttermilk.

I find people tend to stay away from recipes that call for these ingredients because they don’t want to buy cornmeal or buttermilk for one recipe and then have it sit around and go bad. This causes folks to miss out on a whole world of flavor and texture.

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This classic skillet cornbread recipe highlights the delicious flavors and textures of cornmeal and buttermilk. However, I hope this week’s column inspires you to use quality Southern-made stone-ground cornmeal (Lindley Mills is my preferred brand) and whole-fat tangy buttermilk (try Banner Butter or Mayfield Dairy) in other recipes this holiday season.

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Cornmeal’s gritty texture and moderate sweet and savory flavor lend a boost to cookies, cakes, focaccia, and even puddings and pies. Buttermilk, with its high acidity and flavorful fat, is a great addition not only to standard leavened pastries like biscuits, scones, muffins and cakes, but also as a tenderizer for meats and a base for salad dressings and marinades.

Use these Southern pantry staples to their full potential this holiday season. You won’t regret it.

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Comfy Skillet Cornbread

Sarah Dodge is an Atlanta-based bread baker, pastry chef and baking instructor. She is the owner of Bread is Good, which offers bread subscriptions to the general public and wholesale baked goods to local markets and restaurants.

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