“That’s not how my mom makes it!” Do your children ever say that? It sounds cute when my sons say it, but when my boyfriend says it, it’s a whole different story. But I digress...
This buttermilk cornbread is not how my mom makes it. It is Aunt Martha’s Buttermilk Cornbread and it’s made with freshly milled corn meal. Martha Pearl Freeman lived to be over 100 years of age. I didn’t know her, but she has a very interesting story.
I enjoy learning and sharing bread stories. Bread is such a huge part of history. I love history and I love bread and when you put the two together, it makes for an interesting bread experience, wouldn’t you say?
I learned about Aunt Martha from her story on the back of a cornbread recipe. The recipe was included with the bag of corn meal I brought recently.
This is not just any bag of cornmeal. It was practically ground right in front of me when I visited The Old Mill at the beautiful campus of Berry College.
The Old Mill was constructed in 1930. It features a 42-foot wooden overshot waterwheel, one of the largest in the world.
The iron hub was donated by a mining company, but Berry Students actually built the water wheel. I think that’s pretty cool. See how big it is. The person in the photo is actually over six feet tall, but he looks small compared to the water wheel.
The mill originally provided corn meal for the college kitchens, but today it is only operated on special occasions.
Fortunately for me, we visited on such an occasion.
We had a wonderful visit to the Old Mill so of course, I had to try the cornbread. I loved it! I thought you might enjoy this recipe as well, but you’ll have to get your own cornmeal.
Aunt Martha’s Buttermilk Cornbread
Aunt Martha was the housekeeper at Oak Hill, the birthplace of Martha Berry, founder of Berry College. It seems that she was famous for her cooking, but didn’t bother using a recipe. Thank goodness someone was able to capture the way she made cornbread.
1 1/4 cup Corn meal (sifted)
1 cup Buttermilk
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 small eggs, beaten
Mix dry ingredients except soda. Melt shortening. Cut into dry ingredients. Add milk to beaten eggs: add to dry ingredients. Add soda dissolved in a little water. Pour batter into hot greased skillet or corn stick pan. Bake at 425 degrees until done. Serves 6.
This is some of the best corn bread I’ve tasted. My son and my boyfriend also liked it. I usually prefer cornbread made with white cornmeal, but this fresh yellow cornmeal changed my mind. I’m so glad I got two bags of cornmeal because they don’t run the mill very often.
I hope you enjoyed this bread experience and will join me again soon.
Here are some additional bread-making resources:bread making blog.