Cracklin’ Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Yield:

    8

    Servings.

Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

When I was a child in Mississippi, my family owned an enormous cast-iron pot with four small “legs”. It was used in my infancy to render pork fat, which was used for almost all the frying needs in the kitchen. When the fat was rendered, the crisp, crunchy, solid pieces were broken into pieces and eaten, to the great delight of young and old alike. These pieces were known as cracklin’s or, to use the dictionary spelling, cracklings. One of the greatest uses for them was in the preparation of cracklin’ bread. Cracklin’s are sold today in plastic bags, but they taste awfully commercial. You can make acceptable cracklin’s by rendering store-bought pork fat in your home.

Ingredients

  • cups cornmeal, preferably stone-or water-ground
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup Cracklin’s (see following instructions)
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Sift together the cornmeal, salt, and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Start stirring with a wire whisk while gradually adding the buttermilk. Stir in the beaten egg. When well blended, stir in the crackling.
  3. Put the butter into a 9-inch black iron skillet and heat on top of the stove until it is quite hot but not brown. Pour half the butter into the batter and stir to blend. Pour the batter immediately into the hot skillet and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
  4. Cut into wedges and serve.