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  #1  
Old 12-15-2011, 11:31 AM
Shakes Shakes is offline
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Why did my corn bread come out flat as a pancake?

I got one of those packets where you just add milk and an egg.

I followed the directions precisely. The only thing I can think of is; I mixed the ingredients, then realized I hadn't turned the oven on yet. So the mixture just sat there in the pie pan until the oven heated up to temp.

I also vaguely remember that you shouldn't mix the batter too smooth. But I'm not sure if I'm remembering that right.

Pls, help. I'm making chili tonight!
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2011, 11:45 AM
Terraplane Terraplane is offline
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If the packet is old it's possible the baking powder in the mix has gone stale. Beyond that I'm not sure, I tend to make it from scratch (which is super easy, btw) so I don't know what else could go wrong with a packet mix.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:03 PM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
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Originally Posted by Shakes View Post

I also vaguely remember that you shouldn't mix the batter too smooth. But I'm not sure if I'm remembering that right.
This is also important. If you mix it to death, you can lose all leavening. That can also flatten out the mixed cake. Something I do is sieve the dry mix, then beat the egg and milk separately, then just stir wet and dry together. You can bake without preheating, that's not so important. IMHO.
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2011, 12:48 PM
Myron Van Horowitzski Myron Van Horowitzski is offline
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You shouldn't skip preheating when using baking powder. Most baking powder is double-acting, that is, it activates in the presence of liquid and ALSO heat. That's probably why it turned out flat.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2011, 02:09 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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Originally Posted by Arkcon View Post
This is also important. If you mix it to death, you can lose all leavening.
Yep, you should have lumps.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2011, 02:14 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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I'll be the party pooper and say that since it's a mix, the entire batch at the factory might have omitted baking powder. If you still have the packet/box that the mix came in, contact the manufacturer and say, "Your cornbread is FLAT."

You will probably score some free coupons.


~VOW
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2011, 02:19 PM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is online now
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It was probably because you didn't preheat your oven. Double-acting baking powder releases CO2 both when it is mixed with liquid and when it's heated. This causes the cake to rise. The heat of the oven also causes the batter to set (i.e. become solid) when it gets hot enough. If you put the unbaked cornbread into a cold oven too much time can pass between when the gases are released and the batter sets. The gas escapes from the liquid, and you get a flat cornbread.
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  #8  
Old 12-15-2011, 02:34 PM
shiftless shiftless is offline
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Looks like this has been answered but I can't stop myself. Over mixing is your problem. Took me a long time to learn this. A few quick strokes, a few minutes to sit then into the oven.
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  #9  
Old 12-15-2011, 02:36 PM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
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Since your main question was answered let me suggest that you also heat the pan before everything goes in the oven. If you have cast iron that would be best since it will get hotter and stay hotter longer, but even if its just aluminum grease your pan and toss the pan in the oven while the oven is pre heating Then pour the batter into the hot pan. You get a better crust that way.
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  #10  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:42 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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I can see where overmixing and not using a pre-heated oven would affect the degree to which the cornbread would rise.

My take of the OP's problem, though, is that the cornbread turned out to be johnnycake. With absolutely NO rising whatsoever, that (to me, anyway) sounds like there is NO leavening in the mix.


~VOW
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  #11  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:46 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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A general note about baking powder: It needs to be shaken before being used. You'll find that instruction somewhere on the can, but most people don't know that.
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  #12  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:52 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
A general note about baking powder: It needs to be shaken before being used. You'll find that instruction somewhere on the can, but most people don't know that.
I can't imagine that's for anything other than to break up clumping. My Clabber Girl brand baking powder contains that instruction. My Kraft Calumet brand does not have any such instruction. I've never bothered and have never noticed any problems.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-15-2011 at 05:53 PM..
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  #13  
Old 12-15-2011, 06:10 PM
Spoke Spoke is online now
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Originally Posted by Shakes View Post
I got one of those packets where you just add milk and an egg.

I followed the directions precisely. The only thing I can think of is; I mixed the ingredients, then realized I hadn't turned the oven on yet. So the mixture just sat there in the pie pan until the oven heated up to temp.
That will screw up your cornbread right there. Oven must be pre-heated.

I had a similar experience when I was making some cornbread for a party, and someone had turned off the oven, thinking they were doing me a favor. Didn't realize it until the cornbread was in the oven, and then had to heat the oven up all over again with the cornbread sitting there.

It came out flat, just as you describe.

Last edited by Spoke; 12-15-2011 at 06:13 PM..
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2011, 06:10 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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That's what you get for using low-fructose corn syrup.
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  #15  
Old 12-15-2011, 06:46 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Originally Posted by VOW View Post
My take of the OP's problem, though, is that the cornbread turned out to be johnnycake. With absolutely NO rising whatsoever, that (to me, anyway) sounds like there is NO leavening in the mix.
the batter not being linked and thickened by heat, then being unable to trap the gas, would have the same effect as the gas never being generated.
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  #16  
Old 12-15-2011, 08:31 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I use Martha White Sweet Cornbread mix.

At first I got these strange bumps on the top of my muffins. Like a pinky finger on one side, but shorter. One day I noticed the fine print. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and then dump into the batter. Made a huge difference. Cracking the egg directly into the batter results in the yolk and white not getting beat together correctly.

Add a bit more milk. My mix calls for 1/2 cup. I find that mine rise better with a little more. About half-way between the half and 2/3 cup mark on the measuring cup.

Finally, keep the mixer in the cupboard. Yes, years ago I foolishly beat my cornbread batter and it came out like crap. Now, I beat it for about 20 seconds with a fork and that's all. Let it sit about 5 minutes and then pour into the muffin pans or cake pan. I personally prefer cornbread muffins.

Last edited by aceplace57; 12-15-2011 at 08:36 PM..
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  #17  
Old 12-15-2011, 08:47 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I can't imagine that's for anything other than to break up clumping. My Clabber Girl brand baking powder contains that instruction. My Kraft Calumet brand does not have any such instruction. I've never bothered and have never noticed any problems.
Maybe they mean that user is supposed to shake, not the can. . .
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  #18  
Old 12-15-2011, 08:58 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Seriously, I had no idea people bought cornbread mix. It's soooo easy to make from scratch, and then you have cornmeal around for stuff like dusting your pizza stone.
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  #19  
Old 12-15-2011, 09:17 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is online now
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People buy mixes for everything. There was a thread some time ago where a dude bought a taco mix. Not a little packet of taco seasoning, but taco shells and seasonings and sauce all packaged together and then decided that 'home cooking' was no cheaper than eating out.

That being said, I overmix everything from muffins to pancake to cornbread batter and I make no apologies for it. I can't stand seeing little lumps of flour floating in my batters and no one has ever accused my baking of being tough or flat.
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  #20  
Old 12-16-2011, 01:07 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Preheat the oven. Use a hot oven, 425F or above. Preheat the pan with corn oil in it. Use corn oil for shortening and to grease the pan that you preheated. Don't overmix, it should be lumpy. Use coarse ground corn meal. Use buttermilk, and add baking soda, about 1/4 the amount of baking powder (in addition to the baking powder). Use molasses, or dark brown sugar. Don't make more than you can eat at one sitting, because you'll end up eating that also at the same sitting.
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  #21  
Old 12-16-2011, 06:00 AM
BeaMyra BeaMyra is offline
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I found it's pretty hard to screw up cornbread out of a box. How about the eggs? I found the more eggs the fluffier it is. I always put in at least one more than the recipe or box requires
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  #22  
Old 12-16-2011, 09:00 AM
Anonymous Coward Anonymous Coward is offline
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I'm a corn bread newbie since it's not very common here in the great white north. I've been playing around with soaking the corn meal in milk prior to mixing as it makes it fluffier and a little more cake like. Is that common down south or would it get me funny looks and mutterings of "that boy ain't right".... However I do use a cast iron skillet so that should get me some cred, right?

Also my cornbread never rises much either. I'll try some of the advice here.
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  #23  
Old 12-16-2011, 09:17 AM
Spoke Spoke is online now
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Originally Posted by Anonymous Coward View Post
I'm a corn bread newbie since it's not very common here in the great white north. I've been playing around with soaking the corn meal in milk prior to mixing as it makes it fluffier and a little more cake like. Is that common down south or would it get me funny looks and mutterings of "that boy ain't right".... However I do use a cast iron skillet so that should get me some cred, right?

Also my cornbread never rises much either.
I'll try some of the advice here.
Probably because you are soaking the cornmeal in milk beforehand. All that bubbly goodness that makes cornbread rise is liable to bubble right out during that process.

Eggs are what makes cornbread moist. Use them if you haven't been.

Last edited by Spoke; 12-16-2011 at 09:20 AM..
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  #24  
Old 12-16-2011, 09:37 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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It is not supposed to be fluffy or cakelike. It is supposed to be cornbread. And it is DEFINITELY not supposed to be sweet, just to cut you off at the pass there.
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  #25  
Old 12-16-2011, 10:54 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Seriously, I had no idea people bought cornbread mix. It's soooo easy to make from scratch, and then you have cornmeal around for stuff like dusting your pizza stone.
Just out of curiosity, do you buy pancake mix? You probably don't, but pancakes are just like cornbread, in that people have been somehow convinced that they can't make it without a mix, when making them from scratch is almost just as easy, requiring almost the same amount of ingredients and work. People like mixes because everything's already in the right proportions and amounts, they just need to measure it.
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  #26  
Old 12-16-2011, 11:23 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Of course I don't buy pancake mix. I have flour and salt and leaveners.
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  #27  
Old 12-16-2011, 01:30 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Of course I don't buy pancake mix. I have flour and salt and leaveners.
Yeah, it's always perplexed me a little bit. I mean, pancakes from scratch are flour + eggs + milk + salt +leavener (and optional butter/shortening/oil and/or sugar). Pancakes from the box are mix + eggs + milk. There's really not that much more work involved in making them from scatch, other than having baking powder and salt around. It's not like pancake mix is "just add water."
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  #28  
Old 12-16-2011, 02:35 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Yeah, it's always perplexed me a little bit. I mean, pancakes from scratch are flour + eggs + milk + salt +leavener (and optional butter/shortening/oil and/or sugar). Pancakes from the box are mix + eggs + milk. There's really not that much more work involved in making them from scatch, other than having baking powder and salt around. It's not like pancake mix is "just add water."
Well some are. I keep little plastic bottles of Bisquick pancake mix around. You just add water to the bottle, shake, and pour out pancake batter. They're pretty ordinary pancakes, but you can wake up and make breakfast in a hurry. But white flour pancakes are pretty dull anyway. When my kids were still around we made pancakes every Sunday morning and tried out every variation, buckwheat, wholewheat, cornmeal, matzo meal, potatoes, yeast raised, egg white types, and then there's all the things you can add, fruit, candy, bacon, nuts, and so on.

Of course there is a huge market for pancake mixes for people who don't regularly keep flour+eggs+milk+salt+leavener around. People cook less and less and don't tend to keep basic ingredients available, or even have a measuring cup around. Our grocery sells pre-made microwave pancakes. The people buying those probably consider using the mixes as 'made from scratch'.
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  #29  
Old 12-16-2011, 02:48 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Well some are. I keep little plastic bottles of Bisquick pancake mix around. You just add water to the bottle, shake, and pour out pancake batter.
OK, that makes more sense to me. But the type I was most used to until I discovered that it's really just flour and baking powder is the type where you need to add eggs and milk anyway.
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  #30  
Old 12-16-2011, 02:48 PM
Shakes Shakes is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
It is not supposed to be fluffy or cakelike. It is supposed to be cornbread. And it is DEFINITELY not supposed to be sweet, just to cut you off at the pass there.
Hey! Easy now. Thems fight'n words!

In case anybody is wondering; I used a preheated cast iron skillet, threw in a pinch of BP and mixed it way less. (BTW, NOT mixing it until all the lumps were out was very hard on my OCD.)

I had much better results. Thanks for your help guys.
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  #31  
Old 12-16-2011, 03:10 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Agreed, cornbread needs a little sweetness. It's a Southern tradition.
Not cake or candy sweet. Just a little sweet.

Same way that I like ice tea. A touch of sweetness please.
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  #32  
Old 12-16-2011, 03:13 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Agreed, cornbread needs a little sweetness. It's a Southern tradition.
I thought sugar, at least in the case of cornbread (as opposed to iced tea), was a Yankee thing. Do I have it backwards?
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  #33  
Old 12-16-2011, 03:20 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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No, you don't. Cornbread shouldn't have sugar in it. Now, the cornmeal does have a corn taste, which is a teeny bit sweet, but sugar is an abomination. I don't know what the hell they're doing down in Arkansas.
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  #34  
Old 12-16-2011, 03:42 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Not sugar, molasses.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:53 PM
Spoke Spoke is online now
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Sugar (or syrup) in cornbread is an abomination unto Martha White.
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  #36  
Old 12-16-2011, 06:27 PM
BigT BigT is online now
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Originally Posted by Spoke View Post
Sugar (or syrup) in cornbread is an abomination unto Martha White.
And this attitude is why I use storebought cornbread. "Did you put any sugar in it?" No, I did not. "I just don't know why it's so much richer than mine." You don't say?
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  #37  
Old 12-16-2011, 07:41 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is online now
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No, YOUR cornbread is supposed to be unsweetened. MY cornbread demands it. Feel free to not have any.

(I will never understand this attitude of, "That's not how I do something, therefore it's wrong." One of my great joys is learning how other people do things that I do so that I can improve my own techniques and learn variations that will widen my knowledge base.)
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  #38  
Old 04-01-2012, 05:08 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Corn Zombie
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