The Essential Guide To Cornmeal

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The Essential Guide To Cornmeal

Cornmeal has long been known as a savory component Southerners use in meal solutions. Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Cornbread is certainly delicious when paired with chili, soups & summer vegetable plates or when crumbled in Old-Fashioned Cornbread Dressing for holiday sides while Sweet Potato Cornbread & Charred Sweet Corn-Jalapeño Muffins have additional ingredients in the formula designed to offer interesting flavors & texture. A little cornmeal may be added to dredging mixtures in order to make some of our most iconic delights ranging from fried green tomatoes to fried chicken but cornmeal adds lovely taste & grit to pies, tarts, cakes & so much more, too. It’s one of my very favorite ingredients to use in a variety of baked goods. Learn about the different types of cornmeal that are available & how to use them in your best recipes.
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How To Distinguish Different Types Of Cornmeal

Although most closely associated with cornbread, cornmeal may be used in all sorts of baked goods ranging from Citrus-Poppy Seed Bars to Lemon-Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Cornmeal is made by grinding dried yellow, white or blue corn with the size distinguished as fine, medium, coarse or stone ground. Some of the hull & the germ of the kernel remains in stone ground cornmeal but expect these components removed from other grinds if not labeled as such which extends shelf life. Different types of cornmeal are ideal to use for specific recipe applications. Let each formula guide you in making the best choice. 

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The shelf life of cornmeal is approximately one year when stored at room temperature, however to extend the time, place the opened container in a zip-top bag & hold in the freezer up to an additional 6 to 8 months. If the ingredient takes on odors from the space, discard & begin with a new batch.

No. 1

Plain Cornmeal

Most commercial varieties available are considered a fine grind, if not specifically labeled, made from dent corn which has a soft starch that’s easy to mill. Fine & medium ground meal is ideal for use in most cornbread & muffin recipes. The grind will determine how much corn flavor to expect from the recipe with stone ground offering quite a good bit.

No. 2

Self-Rising Cornmeal

Self-rising cornmeal has additional ingredients added such as leavening & salt. I find most formulas use baking powder & too much salt so I generally steer clear of them. Baking powder will deliver off flavors when buttermilk is used in recipes so it’s always best to add your own proportions & desired leavening agents.

No. 3


Although some cornmeal products are labeled as such, it should be noted that polenta is an Italian specialty dish & not a singular ingredient.

No. 4


Grits are most typically made from either yellow or white cornmeal that is ground from dent corn. The texture is more coarse than that of products labeled simply as coarse.

No. 5

 Corn Flour

This is an extra fine grind of corn may be used in recipes ranging from biscuits to cornbread.

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* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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