With rich, toasty flavors and a tender crumb, no one will guess this loaf is gluten-free. I prepare it in a cast iron frying pan, which I can bring right to the table, and serve it warm with butter. For a satisfying breakfast, lunch, or snack, smear leftovers with peanut butter. Sometimes I make this loaf with ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) maple syrup rather than the brown sugar, and mix it in with the liquid ingredients.

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Ingredients

  • Gluten-free cornmeal, 1 cup (5 oz/155 g) (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Gluten-free flour mix, 1 cup (5 oz/155 g) (I like Cup4Cup)
  • Brown sugar, cup ( oz/75 g), firmly packed
  • Baking powder, teaspoons
  • Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Baking soda, ½ teaspoon
  • Xanthan gum, ¾ teaspoon (optional)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Additions of your choice such as 4 oz (125 g) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese; 2 teaspoons minced jalapeño chiles; or 1 cup (6 oz/185 g) corn kernels
  • Buttermilk, 1 cup
  • Large egg, 1
  • Butter, ½ cup (4 oz/125 g), or 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh sage or rosemary, tablespoons minced (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Warm a 10-inch (25 cm) ovenproof frying pan, preferably cast iron, in the oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour mix, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, xanthan gum (if you are NOT using Cup4Cup flour mix), and a generous amount of pepper. Whisk to blend and mix in any additions. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and egg and whisk to blend.
  2. Using a pot holder, remove the frying from the oven. Add the butter and herbs, if using, and swirl until the butter melts and the herbs sizzle. Pour the butter into the buttermilk mixture, leaving just enough butter in the pan to coat it. Whisk to incorporate, and then add to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir just until combined. Spoon the batter into the skillet, spreading to cover evenly.
  3. Using a pot holder, return the pan to the oven. Bake until the bread is brown and feels springy when pressed in the center, about 20 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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