Cornbread has indeed saved the world. Not just a staple of the South, where cornbread is religion and the daily bread part of every important occasion; corn and cornbread has sustained folks around the world.
In our house, cornbread rules. So a low sodium cornbread recipe was one of the first things I had to figure out when my husband was put on a very restricted sodium diet. There was no way we were going to live without it. Knowing that baking powder is very high in sodium (read the label!) I had to find a way to make it without baking powder.
Low Sodium Cornbread
Why no baking powder? Surprising to us, and to many who are watching their sodium intake, bread is one of The Salty Six. Not only is most bread highly processed with salt added for flavor and a preservative, but a component of nearly every baked good is baking soda or baking powder – baking soda has an astounding 150 mg. of sodium per 1/8th teaspoon and baking powder 55 mg. per 1/8 teaspoon. The labeling verges on deceptive because when do you use only 1/8 of a teaspoon? When you do the math, that is 1,200 and 440 mg of sodium per teaspoon respectively! Check the label.
Now, with the help of Hain Featherweight Sodium-Free Baking Powder (yes, there is such a thing – it contains potassium in lieu of sodium) and no added salt, my low sodium cornbread recipe has almost zero sodium (milk has a little).
History of Cornbread
Cornbread was especially significant in the New World where indigenous Native Americans shared their ways with the starving colonists and helped to shape and flavor the regional cornbreads of America. Whether skillet-baked buttermilk Southern cornbread, sweet cake-like Northern cornbread, and chile-spiced, smoky Southwestern cornbread – cornbread remains a vital component of regional fare.
You can find cornbread brethren in Mexico as pan de elote; arepas; in Columbia and Latin America; and humitas in Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia. New World corn spread to Old World Europe – broa, a yeast-risen dense cornbread, served with caldo verde in Portugal, and more of a cornmeal mush in Italy’s polenta in Italy and Romanian mamaliga. The path of corn around the world is as intriguing as tales of spice traders, and no one tells it better than passionate author Crescent Dragonwagon who spent six years following the cornbread trail from the Green Mountains to the Ozarks, to Latin America, Asia, and beyond researching and writing The Cornbread Gospels.
“No other single food has been the subject of more passionate discussion, on and off the record, than cornbread. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain are just a few of those who wrote heatedly about cornbread. No other single food has more purely American historical and cultural connections, from the worship of Mother Corn, the Corn Goddess, by Native Americans, to the survival of the Pilgrims, … to its darker history, that of a staple food to those once enslaved in this country.”
Cast Iron Cornbread is the Best
Usually, I bake cornbread in my cast iron skillet. Cast iron heats evenly, the edges get crispy, and the skillet goes from oven to table for a rustic touch. I also like to bake and serve it in my brick red apple casserole dish because I get to eat the little crunchy “stem” piece. College Girl always liked the puffy centerpieces, I adore the crunchy edges, and Don is an equal opportunity cornbread eater.
Cornbread is a given when I cook Southern dishes like beans, my un-fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, pulled pork, and, of course, chili and ribs. Besides making it a low sodium cornbread, I have tweaked the recipe over the years to be lower in fat and calories by substituting 1% milk for whole milk and sunflower oil for butter or bacon fat. Some people like sweet cornbread – we’re not one of those people – I use only 1/4 cup of sugar for just a touch of sweetness.
Low Sodium Cornbread Recipe – Family Tested and Approved
- 1 c. unbleached flour
- 1 c. medium-grind cornmeal
- ¼ c. sugar
- 3 teaspoons Hain Featherweight No-Sodium baking powder*
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ¼ c. sunflower or canola oil
- 1⅓ c. 1% lowfat milk
Preheat oven to 425° degrees F.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Blend in the beaten egg, milk and oil.
Pour into a baking dish sprayed lightly with oil. Bake for 20 minutes.
* I buy Hain's Featherweight No-Sodium Baking Powder on Amazon, you can buy it via She's Cookin's Amazon Affiliate store https://www.amazon.com/shop/shescookin, at no additional cost to you. Nutritional Analysis via MyFitnessPal.com
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