Easy peasy cornbread made with polenta and oil. Light, fluffy, yes, AND with gorgeously crunchy edges.
Olive oil, to grease loaf pan Standard flour, to dust 150g (1 cup) standard flour 3½ tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 170g (1 cup) cornmeal (or finely ground polenta) 1½ Tbsp caster (superfine granulated) sugar 250ml (1 cup) milk 60ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil 1 medium (size 6) free-range egg, lightly whisked
1 Preheat oven to 220°C / 400°F (or 200°C fan-forced). Lightly brush a 5-cup (1.25 lit) capacity loaf pan with olive oil. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Alternatively, cook the cornbread in small springform moulds.
2 Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add cornmeal, sugar, milk, oil and egg, and use a wooden spoon to stir until well combined.
3 Pour the mixture into the prepared pan or moulds. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cornmeal, made from ground corn (yellow, white or blue corn) is the traditional ingredient used in cornbread and comes finely ground, medium textured or coarsely ground. Most recipes for cornbread call for a medium textured cornmeal. Polenta is typically made from yellow corn (although white corn is popular in some northern regions of Italy). It’s ground a little coarser than cornmeal and is used to make the dish known as polenta, a hot creamy porridge. If left until cold it can be sliced and fried or baked in a gratin. Polenta takes around 40 minutes to cook, but ‘instant’ or quick-cooking polenta which is ground more finely, only takes 3-4 minutes to cook. This type of polenta makes perfectly good cornbread. For more on polenta see here Polenta