This was better than I expected. I really like cornbread but I stopped making it because I thought you couldn’t produce a decent product without adding milk, eggs, butter, or oil. I went ahead and designed a simple recipe anyway.
Since this was a technology demonstrator I used small amounts of everything. I didn’t have any baking powder in the house so I improvised with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. (An acid plus a base creates carbon dioxide gas when mixed. The gas makes the bread rise.) I wasn’t sure about the mix ratio but wikihow said: “add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda,” which worked great.
I’m actually posting this, not because I think lots of people will be interested but to remind myself how to do it in case I lose the piece of paper I wrote it on. So, there’s a good chance I’ll come back and edit this as I attempt variations. I’d like to double the batch but I wonder if it will be gummy. Live and learn.
Cornbread Recipe: Vegan, No Added Fat
This is a small test batch. The full batch is below. (This is actually better than the double batch, moister.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Preheat a 9″ glass pie pan in the oven.
1/2 cup cornmeal (I used a medium grind, that’s why you see a pebbly texture)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 level teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vinegar (I used red wine vinegar, all I had. It may have given the final product a pink tinge.)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Blend the first 5 dry ingredients together. Make sure the baking soda is dispersed throughout.
- Whisk together the last 3 wet ingredients.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and, working very quickly stir with a spoon to create a batter and pour the batter into the preheated pie pan in the oven. You have to work quickly because the baking soda isn’t “double rise” and you want some of the gas it forms to happen in the oven.
I baked it for just 12 minutes, just until it started turning brown on top. Timing is important … you don’t want a gummy product nor do you want it too dry (especially since I wasn’t using any fat).
When it was cool I cut it into wedges and put them into the freezer. I hadn’t used any oil or parchment on the glass pan but it didn’t stick at all (after it cooled). Even defrosted the next day they were moist! I can do a lot with this … take out the maple syrup and add peppers and cumin for a Mexican flavor (served with black bean soup), or add some corn kernels or maybe some flax seed. But for a first try, I’m happy with it!
Update, 23 March: Someone asked what type of cornmeal I used. It was Bob’s Red Mill, medium ground, photo to the right. It says, “Because corn germ is at such a premium for unsaturated cooking oils and margarines, most other makers of corn products remove it.” Bob leaves the germ in. It does have more of a corny flavor than, say, polenta or grits.
Update, 24 March: Here’s the recipe for a double batch:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 level teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 teaspoons vinegar
4 tablespoons (=1/4 cup) maple syrup
Everything else is the same (425 degrees, preheated 9″ pie pan) except bake it for about 18 minutes.