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.
maria s says:
April 30th, 2014 at 10:15 am
I think I’m going to have to try it soon. Don’t know if I can find kamut flour, do you think spelt or rye as a substitute will work well?
April 30th, 2014 at 10:17 am
Beautiful cornbread. If you do start keeping a starter, I’d love to hear about your experience! Did you see the NYT feature on Tartine bread? It may inspire my bf and me to give it another go.
April 30th, 2014 at 10:48 am
Maria- try to find kamut, it is useful in so many recipes. You can substitute whole wheat pastry flour, if you must.
April 30th, 2014 at 10:54 am
Always looking for a wholesome low fat cornbread recipe – looking forward to trying this.
Sue OBryan says:
April 30th, 2014 at 11:38 am
Thank you for this adaptation; I really like the friendly vibe of JB’s book and he may just pursuade me to get my starter out of the fridge and try to use it (haven’t had much luck with “natural” starters). Custardy crumb with sour-ish flavor, sounds wonderful!
April 30th, 2014 at 12:16 pm
I love cornbread and this sounds wonderful…how was it a day after baking? I find some cornbreads are only good the day of baking…While that is an excuse to finish it off I would love to find a recipe that stands up for a day or two.
April 30th, 2014 at 12:48 pm
Kathy- I thought it was great the second day, and even the third- though I heated it up (toaster) each time.
April 30th, 2014 at 5:34 pm
I’ve been baking bread out of this book for a few weeks now, and I can attest that it’s a game changer. Also, I went to his book launch party, and he’s genuinely a super nice guy. Cheers!
April 30th, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Cornbread is tricky to get right, but I like the sound of Josey’s rendition. This recipe is also a good reminder for me to finally make it over to The Mill for said toast. (The last time I was relatively nearby, I got sidetracked by B. Patisserie’s kouign amann.) Hope the weather is holding steady in Chicago for you, Tim.
Christina @ but i'm hungry says:
April 30th, 2014 at 7:41 pm
I’m on what feels like an eternal hunt for the perfect cornbread recipe. Could my searching days be through?!
josey baker says:
May 1st, 2014 at 4:43 pm
oh my freakin god man, this is too sweet of you. you totally nailed this recipe, i’ve spent the last five minutes staring at your photos and considering the possibility of eating my laptop. thank you so much for the flattering post, and lemme know the next time you’re headed to SF and we’ll meet up for some toast + coffee. thanks again, you made my day
May 2nd, 2014 at 9:01 am
I sometimes eat cornbread with almond butter before a marathon workout. Seems wrong but it’s oh so right. Can you recommend a good bread pan for both yeasted and quick breads?
May 2nd, 2014 at 12:10 pm
I just got his cookbook last week, and like you, found myself tempted, for the first time, to actually try my hand at a starter. He makes the process completely accessible–and fun!
I started mine on Sunday, so I still have well over a week to go with it, but I’m super excited about the sour aroma beginning to emanate from the jar on my counter. Don’t get me wrong: I love Tartine, but that cookbook never made sourdough breads feel approachable, even for me, a bread baker with a fair amount of experience. I think you should try it, Tim!
May 2nd, 2014 at 5:22 pm
I like Chicago Metallic loaf pans, which are pretty easy to find. I also like those gold pans from Williams-Sonoma. The gold is some sort of non-stick coating that will probably kill us, but the pans work well.
May 3rd, 2014 at 6:48 am
Hi Tim, never eaten cornbread before, but this one looks so gorgeous, I’ll have to give it a go. One question however. I can’t remember having seen cornmeal here in the shops. There’s corn flour, which as the texture of wheat flour and there’s polenta which is more grainy. Which one should I use for this cornbread?
May 3rd, 2014 at 8:14 am
Hi Anne, You’ll want to use the polenta, just make sure it isn’t instant or quick-cooking polenta. You’re just looking for ground corn. Let me know what you think!
Sophie Harriet says:
May 3rd, 2014 at 11:34 am
I’m from Ireland, and cornbread is practically unheard of here, but it looks absolutely scrumptious! I can’t wait to make it and wow all of my friends. Thank you for such an unusual recipe!
Casey Campbell says:
May 3rd, 2014 at 4:27 pm
I love cornbread and this recipe sounds and looks absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to try it!
May 4th, 2014 at 2:18 pm
Argggg . . . I want to make this right now! but I need a gluten free option for the kamut. Any suggestions?
May 4th, 2014 at 3:12 pm
Hey Carin- I’ve pretty heavy into gluten, so I don’t have suggestions- but if you figure something out, let us know. I am sure others might be curious.
May 4th, 2014 at 4:43 pm
Can anyone speak from experience as to how well this recipe adapts to a cast iron skillet instead of the loaf pan?
May 5th, 2014 at 5:07 am
I made it yesterday to share with friends and it did not disappoint! It was so delicious that it didn’t last a whole hour. I’ll have to make it again soon!
May 6th, 2014 at 4:03 am
That video! Why does it cut off after 14 minutes?! I want to keep watching adorable Josey build his bakery!!
May 6th, 2014 at 2:03 pm
Quite intrigued by the “custard-like” crumb. It sounds like a very welcome change from the cornbread norm.
May 7th, 2014 at 7:57 pm
So good; my new go-to cornbread recipe for sure. My old favourite recipe has chopped fresh sage in it, so I added some to this loaf too. Spectacular!
Yosef - This American Bite says:
May 12th, 2014 at 9:45 am
I like the kamut-corn combo that you went with. Any recipe that spans two days is worthy of my time and attention!
May 19th, 2014 at 12:27 pm
I made this cornbread over the weekend and it was amazing! I found the kamut flour at Whole Foods. It really gave the cornbread a nice, nutty flavor. After the third day it’s still great! I just popped it in the toaster, a little butter and raspberry jam. Yum! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ll make this again and again!
May 23rd, 2014 at 5:22 am
Hi Tim, it took me a while, but I finally made the corn bread using polenta. The taste was great,but the polenta stayed rather gritty and I don’t know if that is how it’s supposed to be. Unluckily the bread collapsed, so the top half had to be discarded, but the remaining part tasted great.
May 23rd, 2014 at 5:58 am
Hi Anne, Hmmmm. Any alterations other than the polenta? It should not have collapsed. As for the grittiness, the overnight soak is supposed to eliminate that so I am not sure what happened. Glad it tasted good, but sorry to hear about the other issues.
May 24th, 2014 at 10:16 pm
I love that this uses kamut flour. Thank you for posting! I have a crush on Josey, too – don’t tell my boyfriend.
Jeff @ Cheese-burger.net says:
May 27th, 2014 at 8:47 pm
This cornbread looks very delicious. I can’t wait to bake a few batches. I promise, I won’t make any changes to this recipe.
Cynthia @ Chic Eats says:
May 29th, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Just watched the video – that was so excellent and inspiring. Following Josey’s blog now and The Mill is definitely on the list for the next San Francisco trip. Can’t beat fresh bread and Four Barrel Coffee. Thanks for linking out to that, Tim!
June 21st, 2014 at 8:43 pm
Okay, so I am definitely one of those people that makes a recipe from your blog two years after its original post date and writes a sincere but poorly timed and maybe unnecessary “Just made this and it was great!” comment. I’m late to this post because I have been traveling for a while, but I’m feeling more positive on being only a few weeks out.
I’m lucky enough to live a few blocks away from The Mill and am thankful that it is in the opposite direction of work and friends. All of their toasts are delicious and seemingly wholesome in such a way that you don’t feel guilty about getting one any day of the week. With whole grains, homemade jams, local honey, and high quality (DELICIOUS) butter, you don’t internalize it as being “bad” for you. This is maybe what I love the most about the Mill; it works its way into the hearts of former anti-carb crusaders and shares the glory of bread.
PS: If you ever come to San Francisco, go on a Thursday! Toasted spricot sage bread with butter and honey. Nothing compares.
Lynda Parker says:
June 25th, 2014 at 11:47 pm
I must try this cornbread, as it sounds beautiful! And the last time I tried cornbread, I was in a restaurant and it tasted so deliciously beautiful I didn’t want anything else for dinner. :D
July 21st, 2014 at 3:31 pm
Just came across this recipe while browsing your blog and it sounds wonderful – I love the addition of Kamut, it is such a great combo with anything buttery. In fact it is now my favourite flour for shortbread and I bet it works wonderfully with cornmeal.
I have heard about The Mill but somehow had not heard about Josey Baker yet so will have to peruse his blog now!