Cornbread is a much-loved staple in many households across the world. There are hundreds of different ways to make cornbread, from family recipes to commercial methods, but they all taste delicious.
One thing you might wonder when baking cornbread is, does the bread rise as it’s a thick mixture?
Cornbread does rise when you bake it correctly and with the right ingredients. The amount your cornbread will rise depends on the ingredients you choose to use, how much of these ingredients you use, the temperature of your oven, and how long you leave your cornbread batter to rest before baking.
What ingredients in cornbread make the bread rise? Why does your cornbread rise only in the middle? Why might your cornbread not rise?
We will discover all you need to know about your cornbread and how to make it rise perfectly in this article!
Does Cornbread Rise When Baked?
Cornbread is a long-time family favorite that many families make for their BBQs or as a nice treat to go with their evening meal. Cornbread is a delicious quick bread that is pretty easy to prepare and can be made within an hour or two.
Many people have one question about cornbread: Does this type of bread rise when baking? Even though cornbread generally looks more like a cake than bread, it does still rise when baked correctly.
However, there are different types of cornbread; each one is different. Some cornbread recipes will make the bread rise well, while others are flatter, but this bread will still rise. This is all dependent on the ingredients you use in your cornbread.
How Much Does Cornbread Rise?
So, cornbread does rise no matter which type of cornbread you make, but how much does cornbread usually rise? The amount that cornbread will rise depends on the ingredients you use in the cornbread batter.
Cornbread isn’t like other cakes or white bread; it won’t double in size when it bakes, but it will raise a few inches higher than when the batter was first placed in the baking tin. Cornbread doesn’t double in size, but it’s still soft, crumbly, and dense inside, which are the main characteristics of this bread.
As there are different methods to prepare cornbread, the resulting bread can be as flat as a pancake when cooked on the stove or as fluffy as a small cake when baked in the oven. The amount your cornbread will rise is based on the ingredients and cooking method you use.
What Makes Cornbread Rise?
If you want to ensure that your cornbread is fluffy when baked in the oven, then you need to understand what makes cornbread rise to help you achieve your desired results. When you look at a cornbread recipe, you will notice that there is either baking soda or baking powder required for the recipe.
These two ingredients are vital to the batter if you want your cornbread to rise well when baked. These ingredients will also ensure your cornbread doesn’t sink in the middle while baking.
However, even though these two ingredients are essential to making fluffy cornbread, they aren’t the only things that can affect the rise of the bread. Let’s look at the other factors that can affect the rise of your cornbread.
1 – The Resting Period of the Cornbread
When making cornbread, you need to let the bread rest before baking. This is much like other bread, but you only need to let the cornbread batter rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
If you leave the cornbread batter to rest for longer, then your cornbread will struggle to rise correctly. If the batter is left longer, the baking powder or soda loses its ability to cause the bread to rise.
You should also not leave the cornbread to rest for less than 15 minutes, as this won’t give the baking powder or soda enough time to mix and produce carbon dioxide, which is essential in the rising process of the bread.
2 – The Leavening Agent in the Cornbread
The leavening agent used to make cornbread, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods are crucial ingredients if you want your baked goods to rise well when baked. So, you need to incorporate a leavening agent into your cornbread to help it rise the way you want it to.
With baking, there are two kinds of leavening agents you can use. There are chemical leavening agents like baking soda or powder and biological agents like yeast. With cornbread, you will use baking powder or soda as it’s a quick bread. So, without these leavening agents, your cornbread could come out flat.
3 – The Oven Temperature
When you place your cornbread into the oven, the heat in the oven will interact with the ingredients of the cornbread. This interaction creates air bubbles in the cornbread while baking. These air bubbles will cause the batter to rise.
So, it’s crucial that you set your oven to the correct temperature when baking your cornbread so that the bread can rise in the oven before the bread structure is formed and made solid. When you make cornbread, traditionally, the bread should have a lovely golden color when cooked.
This means you need to bake the bread at a high temperature. Your oven should be preheated in the range of 375° to 425°F to ensure enough heat to interact with the ingredients.
Why Does My Cornbread Rise in the Middle?
Several factors can affect the rise of your cornbread while it bakes, but what if your cornbread only seems to rise in the middle. What causes this, and can you fix it for the nest cornbread loaf you make?
If your cornbread is rising only in the middle when baking, there are a few reasons why this could be happening. Firstly, your oven could be too hot when you place the cornbread into it. This will make the edges of the cornbread form a structure before being able to rise like the center of the bread.
Ensure your oven is set to the correct temperature in the recipe you are using. You could have also used too much baking powder or soda when making the batter. This can make some parts of the batter rise more than other parts.
To help you avoid this problem in the future, always look at the temperature you set your oven to. You can also leave your cornbread batter to rest in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes. This will cool the ingredients and harden the butter in the batter slightly. This can help all the batter to rise together.
Will Cornbread Rise Without Baking Powder?
If you don’t have baking powder but want to make cornbread, can you still make a nice, fluffy loaf without this ingredient? Baking powder is a vital ingredient when you want your cornbread to rise and be fluffy.
If you don’t have baking powder or a baking powder substitute for your cornbread batter, you should search for a flat cornbread recipe that doesn’t require this ingredient. If you make the batter without the baking powder or a substitute, your cornbread will not rise.
Baking Powder Substitutes for Cornbread
Baking powder is a crucial ingredient in your cornbread. If you want your cornbread to rise into the fluffy bread you remember, what if you don’t have baking powder? Are there any other ingredients you can use to substitute the baking powder that will make your cornbread rise?
Thankfully, if you don’t have baking powder on hand, there are a few other ingredients you can add to your cornbread to help it rise the way you want it to. Let’s look at the baking powder substitutes you can use in your cornbread batter.
If you have self-rising flour in your cupboard, you can still make your cornbread without baking powder. Self-rising flour is also sometimes labeled as cake flour, so you can use this flour as well.
This type of flour often already has baking powder incorporated into the flour, so your cornbread can still rise well if you don’t add the extra baking powder into the mix. You can also try to find some self-rising cornmeal, which already has enough baking powder in it that you don’t need extra for your cornbread to rise nicely.
Baking Soda and Buttermilk
If you don’t have baking powder, you can use baking soda in your cornbread. However, for this method to help your cornbread rise, you need to add some acidity into the batter to interact with the baking soda and make your cornbread rise.
This is where the buttermilk comes in. Buttermilk is slightly acidic, so adding it to your cornbread with baking soda will help your cornbread rise without the need for baking powder.
Baking Soda, Cornstarch, and Cream of Tartar
If none of the above methods will work for you, then you can try and mix a few household ingredients together that many people already have in their pantries.
Mixing 2 parts cornstarch, 1 part baking soda, and 1 part cream of tartar together and adding this mixture to your cornbread batter in a 1-to-1 substitution to baking powder can help your cornbread rise nicely in the oven.
Why Does My Cornbread Not Rise?
As you can see, a lot goes into making cornbread, and a lot can go wrong. So, there are many reasons your cornbread might not rise as it should. These include having the oven temperature too cold and not adding enough baking powder or other leaven.
So, you need to try and fix these according to the information in this article to help your cornbread rise. Baking your cornbread in a tin that is too small for the amount of batter can also stop your cornbread from rising.
This is due to the lack of space for the air bubbles that make the bread rise to form. You should always follow your cornbread recipe closely, even down to the size of the baking tin you should use to ensure your cornbread rises correctly.
Cornbread is a beloved side to many meals for many families worldwide. There are many different cornbread recipes out there that you can choose to make. Most cornbread will rise when baked; unless you make a flat cornbread, it won’t rise.
There are several factors that go into making your cornbread rise properly, and hopefully, the information in this article can help you make the perfect cornbread of your dreams. Good luck!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.