Yeast-raised Cornbread Recipe

Yeast-leavened corn bread recipe, heavily flecked with kernels of bright yellow corn and generously spiked with chives. Perfect for stuffing and soup-dunking.

Yeast-raised Cornbread

I decided if I was going to feature a cornbread recipe on this site, it needed to be two things - delicious and unique. Good enough to get people to try something beyond their traditional cornbread recipes, good enough to get them to put down the "Jiffy" mix. It took a while for inspiration to strike - years in fact. But strike it did, in an antique shop in central California. I was flipping through a dusty, old natural foods cookbook and spotted a recipe for a yeast-raised cornbread, one could tell at a glance the recipe itself wasn't any good, but the idea sounded full of potential.

Many cornbreads are quickbreads, they use baking soda and/or baking powder and have a tender, crumbly texture. Yeast-leavened corn bread is more bready and less muffin-like in texture. My version is heavily flecked with kernels of bright yellow corn, has plenty of cornmeal in the dough itself, and is generously spiked with chives. You can bake it in free form shapes, in two standard loaf pans, or as individual rolls like I did here. It's a cornbread that was born to be in stuffings or dunked in hearty soups - it has the structure for it, and isn't inclined to go to mush.

A small reminder, please read the recipe through before committing to it, you will definitely be shifting into baking mode - with all the kneading, rising, and shaping that goes along with it. Make sure you have a nice block of time and aren't feeling rushed - I can tell you from experience sweet-talking the dough when you are pinched for time doesn't make it rise any faster.

corn bread recipe

I'd like to see if the (unbaked) dough freezes well, I forgot to test that aspect this time around, but will report back and update the post at a later date. I also imagine marrying this corn bread recipe and my favorite Peter Reinhart pizza dough would result in a knock-out cornmeal pizza dough - on my ever growing list of things to try.

Let me know what you think overall. Yes? No? Don't mess with a good thing?

The Kitchn bakes up a batch of this cornbread loaf-style

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Yeast-raised Cornbread Recipe

I call for white whole wheat flour but feel free to substitute bread flour or all-purpose flour - you'll have equally tasty results. I also instruct you to let the dough rise in a warm place - it's not very eco of me, but if it is particularly chilly in my kitchen I will leave the oven on and place the bowl on top to keep it nice and happy.

4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup organic cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grained sea salt
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (~105 degrees)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
2 cups of fresh or frozen corn, if frozen defrosted to room temp
2/3 cup chopped chives

Cornmeal and olive oil for preparing loaf pans or muffin tins

This recipe yields two standard loaves of cornbread OR 1 1/2 dozen standard-sized muffins. Prepare your pans by rubbing them generously with olive oil, dust with cornmeal, then tap out any extra. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour cornmeal and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid type mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add about 2/3 of the flour/cornmeal mixture. Now add the olive oil, honey, just TWO of the eggs, corn, chives and begin to mix with the dough hook attachment at low speed. As the dough is starting to come together mixing begin adding more of the flour/cornmeal mixture a bit at a time, letting it incorporate along the way - you might not need to use all of it. Keep adding until you achieve a dough that is tacky. It should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, add a teaspoon or two of water.

Dial up the speed a bit to medium, and keep mixing for about seven minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop, knead a few times, gather the dough into a ball and rub with a bit of olive oil. Place in a large, greased (olive oil) bowl, cover with a kitchen towl or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto the countertop. To make the rolls you see in the photo up above, start by cutting the dough into thirds - three big wedges. Pat each third into a square shape and cut each into six pieces - you will end up with 18 equal size pieces. Without over-handling, shape each piece into a ball and place the muffin tins. Let the rolls rise in a warm spot until roughly doubled - another hour. Alternately, if you want to bake two loaves, cut the dough into two equal pieces, shape and place in prepared pans. I imagine, you can also bake this dough freeform if you like.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Just before baking whisk the remaining egg and brush on the dough, sprinkle with cornmeal. Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes on the middle rack, or until rolls are golden. If you are baking loaves it will take significantly longer. Turn out onto cooling racks. Serve slathered with salted honey-butter.

Makes two loaves or 1 1/2 dozen rolls.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I love traditional quick cornbread yes, even the Jiffy mix, but am heartbroken when the loaf dries out. This looks fabulous, and I like the idea of making individual rolls ahead of time and freezing them to save for future soup lunches. I'll do a tortilla soup that I've been wanting to try. I use the steamy microwave trick for proofing dough, but I will try the steamy pot on the stove method. I can get white whole wheat flour in my local grocery store, or you can try the King Arthur Flour baker's catalog website. is another four and grain retailer has a vegan egg substitute that they sell, but I've never used it so I can't testify as to how to use it or how it tastes. I also am a fan of the idea of a pizza crust. My husband and I have discovered doing pizza on the grill, and I think a bit of smoky flavor would just be over the top to a raised corn crust with beans and roasted red peppers, etc. etc. And did somebody mention bread pudding? Let us know how that works out!!


Wouldn't you know? I'm sitting here eating homemade vegetable soup with Jiffy cornbread made with sour cream. It's good. But this looks wonderful!

Mary Coleman

Oh these look so yummy! I'll bet they would be delicious with chili!

Vanessa Hamlin

Normally cornbread does not appeal to me at all...this recipe actually makes it look like its worth eating. Maybe for Thanksgiving....

Polish Pottery

I'm intrigued and am going to try this. I'm not that hip on whole wheat, so I'll go with the all purpose, but I love trying cornbread recipes. Thanks for another awesome inspiration.


I mis-spoke, I could not resist. It is in the oven right now. Smells great. I am doing it again in the bread machine tomorrow. Liz, do not try the processor, the corn will break down. Just go with the hand method.


When I was living in Croatia I always bought yeast risen corn bread b/c it stayed moist so much longer than any other fresh bread I could find. I'd love to try this recipe but I don't have a stand mixer. Any suggestions for how to adapt this for a food processor, hand mixer or just simply mixing by hand?


Well that DOES look delicious and unique, I'll tell you that much! I love corn bread.


I am doing these tomorrow (did 3 dozen bagels this morning and I am over the flour thing). What a find. We live in Central America where the bread is awful, so always looking for something good and new. Heidi, did you read the NYTimes yesterday. There was a recipe (inspired by a vegetarian Thanksgiving) for Corn Bread Pudding w/ ricotta. This sounds perfect. Love your site.


As someone who pretty much doesn't like traditional corn bread much, this version looks much more up my alley. I can't be bothered to bake any though, so please just lob a roll in my direction and I'll catch it. Preferably whilst its still warm from the oven, ok?


Beautiful Heidi... and timely too. Great minds? Convergence? Was just thinking about new versions of our old favorite (cornbread) and this will be the perfect answer.


I struggle with cornbread recipes for some reason. My favorite cornbreads are grainy, very home-style and nothing whatsoever like bread or cake. But getting the results I want...whole other story. Thanks!


These look amazing!


I've never had cornbread, so I can't say which version would taste better to me....but I ordered a skillet online that can go in the oven. So, I'll be trying this recipe sometime soon. Thanks!


I think this is the recipe I've been looking for. Yesterday I got some really good smoked bratwurst from a local polish market. My plan was to make a cornbread base with some sauteed onions, put the roasted bratwurst on top and bake it together. My recipe had cornmeal, eggs, some cheese and milk. I thought the eggs would give it some body. It looked beautiful when it came out of the oven. Nice browned top. But it was just mush. Pure mush. My boyfriend ate it and said he thought it was good. But I thought it was just horrible. I will be making this in the next week or two with some good sausage and will report back.


I just wanted to second Gin's comment. The slightly-preheated oven trick works great to create a warm environment for rising bread dough. Another trick my mother used to use was to place her dough on top of the fridge, where it was always warm.


This is going to sound funny, but I lived on a friend's farm for a year and her trick for letting the dough rise is to tuck it into bed with a hot water bottle (no really) you just have to make sure that nobody wants to get into that bed...but maybe if they do they could cuddle...


Heidi, I have to be the one nay-sayer here...this sounds really freaking difficult (though the pictures and your descriptions make it sound fabulous to eat!). And I am a devoted Jiffy cornbread mix fan, which is great for tweaking with added fresh corn kernels and/or cheese, peppers etc etc. Why mess with such a good, simple thing?


This looks great. FYI the Liberty Cafe Bakery in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco makes a yeasted cornbread every Wednesday. I was seriously addicted for a while. I'll have to make this one and then compare--the thing with the Liberty's loaf is that it gets dry fast.


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