River Cottage Every Day
12 pieces
Simon Wheeler

This is another of those simple, quick, yeast-free breads that can be put together in next to no time. It’s not bread at all really, more a sort of savoury cake, and I absolutely love it.

The plain version is delicious with bacon for breakfast, or as an accompaniment to hearty, beany stews or soups. However, if you add a few extra tasty ingredients (see suggestions below), it becomes almost a meal in itself and you don’t need much with it except maybe some scrambled eggs or salad.


Quantity Ingredient
125g cornmeal or fine polenta, (or use half fine and half coarse polenta for a crunchier texture)
125g plain white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 medium eggs
1 tablespoon runny honey or soft brown sugar
150g buttermilk, (or plain whole-milk yoghurt)
150ml whole milk
25g unsalted butter, melted


  1. Grease a 23cm square baking tin, about 4cm deep.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Make a well in the middle.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, honey or sugar, buttermilk or yoghurt, milk and melted butter. Pour into the well in the dry ingredients and stir until everything is just combined. Don’t overmix; a few lumps in the batter are fine. You need to get it into the oven as quickly as possible once the bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk start reacting.
  4. Pour the batter into the baking tin and place in an oven preheated to 220°C. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cornbread is golden and has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin. Place the tin on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before cutting the bread into squares. Serve warm.


  • Cornbread lends itself to customisation. You might want to try adding fried bacon bits, fried diced chorizo, chopped olives, mushrooms (fried with a little garlic and well seasoned), and chopped herbs, such as coriander and chives.

    Cheddar, chilli, sweetcorn and spring onion cornbread

    Gently sweat 6 sliced spring onions and ¼–1 deseeded and finely chopped green or red chilli in a tablespoon of rapeseed or olive oil until soft but not coloured. Combine with 50g cooked sweetcorn (fresh or tinned). Make the cornbread as above, stirring 50g grated strong Cheddar cheese into the dry ingredients and adding the sweetcorn mixture with the wet ingredients.
River Cottage
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
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