Sweet tea, fried chicken, greens and mashed potatoes… what’s missing from this typical Southern fare? A plate of cornbread. As American as apple pie, cornbread is a food for the masses, especially with the main course and dressings. Scroll below for a nutritional analysis on this type of bread.
Traditionally bread and most bread products are made from flour. But a type of bread that is made from cornmeal is cornbread, a traditional Native American recipe. Cornmeal is flour, ground not from wheat but from corn. It is not the same as cornflour, which is actually cornstarch. Cornmeal has a wide range of culinary uses, such as to make the thick outer coating of corn dogs or as the breading material for fried fish. The thick, coarse and distinctly corn taste of cornmeal is lent to cornbread. Cornbread has another distinguishing factor in its production. Baked goods especially bread, require a leavening or raising agent. This is used to raise or cause the dough to foam, by releasing gas into the dough. The end result is a lighter and softer baked food. The holes and light crumbly look of bread is often due to such a leavening agent, which is normally yeast. But cornbread is leavened by a chemical agent, i.e., baking powder.
The origins of this corny bread (no pun intended) is no doubt American, but Southerners and Northerners always argue for the credit of its creation. Actually cornbread is a traditional North American recipe, which was quickly adopted by the Pilgrims and European colonists, that came to America. Cornbread also became very popular during the American Civil War, for its easy-to-find ingredients and very easy cooking style. Cornbread could be easily made using a skillet or pan, on an open campfire. Its ingredients were milk, eggs, oil and cornmeal, basic items easily available to an army man. Plus cornbread does not perish quickly and could be eaten over a few days, so it could be stored in a backpack or as rations for sometime.
Today cornmeal can be experimented with, based on its ingredients list and its final form. Southern-style cornbread involves using pure cornmeal, buttermilk and animal fats, instead of vegetable oil for cooking the bread. Northern-style involves the use of sugar and more eggs for a sweeter, fluffier taste. Wheat flour and cornmeal in equal proportions is used instead of completely using cornmeal. Vegetables in the form of corn kernels, jalapeño peppers and chillies as well as small meat pieces and chunks (bacon bits) are added to the batter. Cornbread can be baked in an oven, fried over a skillet or steamed. It can be made into corn cakes, shaped into corn pones or muffins or as johnnycakes, enjoyed in the form of pancakes. It makes an ideal bready accompaniment for chili con carne or with a casserole. Cornbread stuffing is crumbled cornbread used as a stuffing for a Thanksgiving turkey.
Cornbread Nutrition Facts
There’s no doubting the popularity of this all-American culinary classic but is eating cornbread actually good for your health? It has a great wholesome taste and rich flavor along with a sinfully delicious aroma, so one piece of cornbread can induce you into having at least 3-5 more. And in the muffin or cake form or the sweeter cooking style, cornbread can pile on the calories. What is the actual ingredient list of cornbread? Standard recipes include milk and eggs. While eggs do add protein, too much can add weight and calories. Then there’s the oil used to make the cornbread. Vegetable oil is okay but when animal fat like bacon drippings are used, the cholesterol and fat levels of the bread rise. Sweeter versions of cornbread will include sugar, definitely a bad ingredient for weight-watchers and diabetics.
The key ingredient in cornbread is cornmeal. So eating cornbread means indirectly eating cornmeal. Cornmeal does have its benefits. It contains various vitamins and minerals, like most members of the Vitamin B complex family, Vitamin E and K, iron, calcium and magnesium in high content levels. Being a whole grain, it is also fibrous in make-up and quickly digests. For those who have wheat and flour allergies, cornmeal is an ideal substitute. But on the flip side, cornmeal is an inflammatory food. 1 cup (122g) of whole grain yellow cornflour contains 442 calories, 5 g of fat and 93.81 g carbohydrates. Cornmeal is healthy but in small or average amounts.
Calories in Cornbread
Below is a tabular comparison on the calorie count of various types of cornbread:
|Name and Serving Size||Calories||Fat||Carb.|
|Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (¼ cup or 38g)||170||4.5g||27g|
|Prepared Cornbread (1 piece or 60g)||188||6g||28g|
|Prepared Cornbread made with low fat milk (1 piece or 65g)||173||4.6g||28g|
Cornbread as a food, has a high glycemic index and can be very inflammatory in action. If prepared sweet, the amount of sugar and milk added to it can make it a very unhealthy food indeed. The above cornbread calories count illustrates a key point when it comes to eating, don’t overdo it. Eating 1 piece of cornbread every 2-3 days is not bad for you. It’s when you eat 5-8 pieces of cornbread in succession or serve it regularly with your everyday meals, that consuming cornbread becomes dangerous. The dishes that cornbread is served it and the way it is served, count too. Cornbread dripping with butter and topped with grated cheese is asking for weight gain. Even serving it with barbecued chicken or chili or pork ribs is a very unhealthy choice.
In conclusion, tweak the ingredients you use for your cornbread. Use vegetable oil and low fat margarine instead of animal fat. Reduce the quantity of eggs and sugar. Use low fat milk and do not have cornbread with each and every meal. Eat smart and in the right amount, so that everything including cornbread is healthy for you.