While I was away from the blog, I made this week's recipe from the Slow and Steady Sub-Group of the Bread Baker's Apprentice. This week, we're straying from yeast to cornbread, which is technically a quick bread. Just not when Peter Reinhart is making it. He has us make a soaker of coarse cornmeal and buttermilk. Instead of just letting mine sit overnight, I stuck it in the fridge the next day and kept it a couple of days before making the cornbread.
A central ingredient of this recipe is bacon, which I don't eat. I ran through a variety of variations in my mind (caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers...) but in the end, time caught up with me and I simply omitted the bacon without substituting another flavor agent.
This was an uneventful preparation. I used a 9x13 pan (well, two of them since I doubled the recipe) and found myself wishing I made it in a cast iron skillet to get the deeply crisp crust I love on cornbread. Although this was good with the addition of fresh corn, I'm southern by birth and I prefer southern cornbread (that is, without the addition of sugar). This recipe is for northern cornbread, even though the sugar is minimal, I think it affects the flavor and interferes with the corn flavor.
Even though I appreciated the simplicity of this recipe, I found myself missing yeast and the contemplative nature of making a yeast bread. So please come back in two weeks, for we'll be making cranberry walnut celebration bread. I'm already starting to have braiding angst...