Monday, July 8, 2013

Taking Care of Cast Iron and the Best Southern Cornbread Recipe!

I had a friend a while back compliment me on how great my cast iron skillets look and asked me to write a post about how to season them.  Well, that's been a while back.  Frankly, I've procrastinated a bit because I didn't really feel qualified to talk about the subject.  Then, I realized you don't have to be an expert to share what you do and how you do it.  

 Picture before being seasoned or coated with oil

So here's what I do to keep my cast iron looking nice and clean:
  • Hand wash only
  • Dry immediately
  • If you use soap, only use a little and rinse thoroughly.
  • I sometimes will use a Scotch scrubbing pad lightly to clean it.
  • The minute you see rust, scour it off, rinse and apply more vegetable oil or coat with shortening.

Lodge recommends applying a coat of vegetable oil after each use, I do not do that.   I do use my cast iron a lot.  A lot = almost everyday.  Another friend said, "You season your cast iron by making a lot of corn bread."  She is right!  I rarely have to "season" my cast iron separately, it's all through use. 

The more you use it, the better it looks! 

Do not...I repeat DO NOT season your pan on top of the stove on high.  I accidentally did this once and the whole thing caught on fire.  That's not good for your skillet AT ALL!!!

For more in depth information with specifics about seasoning and maintaining your cast iron, visit Lodge- Seasoned Cast Iron's website. 

Southern Cornbread recipe:

I had an Aunt Ollie, (She really wasn't my aunt, but that's what we had to call her) who made the best cornbread ever.  I've been trying to replicate her recipe for a long time.  It has to pass two tests-  1.  The inside has to be moist enough to stick together when pinched.  2.  The outside has to have an extra crispy crust.

This recipe is as close as I've come to the best cornbread I've ever eaten.  

Grease your cast iron skillet very generously with Crisco or shortening. 

Generous = you can see the white shortening in the the picture above.   

Put your skillet in the oven first and then preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 


2 cups self rising cornmeal
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plus more buttermilk (batter should be loose consistency, but not too runny)
3 Tbsp.- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I've tried butter, but it doesn't give you as moist of a bread or as much crust)

After your oven has preheated, pour batter very quickly into the skillet, then decrease oven temperature to 425 degrees.  This is VERY IMPORTANT!!!!

Put back in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Immediately, flip the bread onto a plate.  

Slice and enjoy hot!  


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