I’ve had a little bit of a crush on Josey Baker since I first discovered his blog a few years ago. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a guy who fell in love with baking bread and became one of the kings of bread in San Francisco (check out this video for more). He’s partially responsible for the toast trend that we discussed earlier. He’s also really charming. I haven’t met Josey, or visited The Mill (his bakery), but I know I’d like him. And having spent the last couple of weeks reading and baking from his recently published cookbook, my feelings have only grown stronger.
Everything I love about his writing on the blog is present in the book, though clearly an editor was involved (for better or worse). Josey holds your hand through the bread baking process, starting with a simple loaf using commercial yeast and leading you through sourdough starters and their kin. It is the first bread book I have read that actually made me consider creating and keeping a starter (we’ll see what comes of that). He’s just so encouraging and makes baking seem like a seriously good time. The final chapter of the book is dedicated to baked goods, including this cornbread. And I am not overstating things when I tell you that this is the best cornbread I’ve ever eaten. I’ve made a couple of loaves of this already. It is flavorful, sour, with an almost custard-like crumb. I can’t get enough. It’s also made with whole grains and is relatively low in fat. It’s wholesome, yo.
I adapted this recipe from the book where Josey formats his recipes in a way that isn’t easily replicated for our purposes. Don’t make any changes to this recipe, I implore you. Also, please note that this recipe, though very simple, extends over two days -so plan accordingly. Happy baking!
Josey Baker’s Cornbread (from Josey Baker Bread)
- 3/4 cup (120g) cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill stone ground, medium grind)
- 2 cups (480ml) buttermilk, divided
- 1 cup (150g) kamut flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 extra large egg
The night before you plan to bake your bread, combine the cornmeal with 1 cup of the buttermilk in a small bowl. Cover it and put it in the fridge overnight. The next day, take the soaked meal mixture out of the fridge an hour before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the kamut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the melted butter into a loaf pan (8 x 4-inches) and use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides of pan. Some butter will pool in the bottom of the pan, that’s okay. In the same saucepan, melt the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, add the honey and stir it all together.
Add the dark brown sugar, the remaining cup of buttermilk, and the egg to the soaked cornmeal mixture.
Add the cornmeal mix and the honey/butter to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir it all together for at least 60 seconds. You want to give it a nice, good beating. It should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake the bread for 45-60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Use a toothpick to test. Let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm with plenty of salted butter. It’s also lovely toasted.