The perfect sourdough cornbread! This cornbread is soft and sweet, with crisp edges and a great cornmeal texture. This is a slightly sweet, more cake-like cornbread, perfect to serve alongside spicy chili, soups, and stews, but it makes a great snack, too! Serve with a pat of butter for a delicious side.
Though this recipe is excellent without the sourdough discard, it adds a pleasant undertone that really separates it from other cornbread recipes. So if you're drowning in discard from your sourdough starter, this is a good way to use it. Try sourdough morning glory muffins and biscuits, too.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Make it dairy-free: use a good non-dairy milk and vegan butter. We recommend a creamy milk like soya and a good vegan butter that comes in block form - Miyoko's and Naturli are both great.
- White flour: whole wheat pastry flour can replace white flour if you want a more wholesome bake. Regular whole wheat flour will make it too heavy but you can replace up to 25% of the white flour with whole grain.
- Butter: if using unsalted butter, increase the added salt amount to ½ teaspoon.
- Cornmeal: the grind of the cornmeal doesn't matter too much for this recipe, but a medium-fine grind is best. Don't mix this up with cornflour.
Step 1: add vinegar to the milk to make buttermilk and set aside.
Step 2: whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl, then add the remaining wet ingredients and mix to combine.
Step 3: in another bowl, mix the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle.
Step 4: add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix to combine.
Step 5: pour the cornbread batter into a greased square baking tin.
Step 6: bake until golden and cool before slicing and serving.
- Use the right baking dish: use either an 8-inch (20cm) square baking dish here as pictured, or an 8-inch (20cm) diameter round dish. If your container is a bit larger or smaller, that'll be fine too - just adjust the baking time accordingly.
- Make sure everything is at room temperature: using room temperature ingredients is important, especially for the wet ingredients. Cold milk and eggs will cause the melted butter to harden and can curdle the cornbread batter, resulting in a patchy dry/wet bread.
- Use active starter: it is possible to use active sourdough starter for this recipe. In that case, be sure to weigh it rather than using cup measurements as it takes up less space than discard does.
While you might be tempted to dig in while the cornbread is warm, letting it cool fully will make for the best texture (that slightly sticky top) and the neatest squares. Cutting it while it's still warm will make for crumbly slices.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a sealed container at room temperature for up to three days. The cornbread is best the day it's baked.
Freezing: sourdough cornbread freezes well. Cut into pieces and freeze in an airtight container for up to two months. To thaw, simply set out at room temperature for about four hours, until thawed completely.
What is a substitute for sourdough discard?
You can use active starter to replace discard, but it should be weighed rather than measured through volume. Many discard recipes, like this cornbread, can simply omit the discard if you don't have any as most starter is made with equal parts flour and water.
What is the difference between active sourdough and discard?
Active sourdough starter is bubbly and significantly risen, and discard is what's left after the starter has passed its peak or starts to decline. Discard can also be what's kept in your fridge between feedings.
What is cornmeal called in the UK?
You'll be more likely to find what Americans call cornmeal under the names polenta or maize. Cornmeal and polenta are the same thing.
If you make this Sourdough Cornbread recipe or any other sourdough discard recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- 8-inch (20cm) square tin
- 2 Mixing bowls
- Wire rack
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup cornmeal lightly packed, if using cups
- 1 cup white all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- ½ cup sourdough discard
- ½ cup butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and grease an 8-inch (20cm) square tin with butter.
- Start by making the buttermilk. Mix the milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to sour for 10 minutes.
- Add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and make a well in the centre. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg until frothy. Add the starter, melted butter, and buttermilk. Whisk to combine.
- Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until just mixed. Don't over mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin. It is quite liquid, like a thin cake batter.
- Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until the top is golden and the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the tin.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing and cooling fully on a wire rack. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze. Sourdough cornbread is best fresh.